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Characters That Impacted Ishmael's Life as a Child Soldier

  • Date Submitted: 03/01/2011 06:00 PM
  • Flesch-Kincaid Score: 68.6 
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Serena Cyr
Mrs. Luscombe
ENG4C1
November 19, 2010

Characters that Impacted Ishmael's Life as a Child Soldier
As Ishmael Beah shares his life of war through his book A Long Way Gone we learn of his experiences, relationships and the true depth of life as a child soldier. Throughout his journey Ishmael meets new people, some of whom try to kill him and others who try to help him. He loses old relationships and forms new ones, that have a great impact on his future. Two people that were a huge part of Ishmael's soldier life are Lieutenant Jabati; by influencing where he stands today, and Esther by having faith in him. Both characters were there for him in very different ways and both gave him faith to have trust himself.
When the war separates Ishmael from his family and friends he is forced to fight for his survival on his own, which eventually lands him in the hands of Lt. Jabati a man responsible for turning Ishmael into a child soldier. Ishmael finds common ground between the lieutenant and himself when he sees him reading Julius Caesar, a book he also read, and this deepens his admiration and respect for him. Once recruited as a child soldier he soon becomes Junior Lieutenant giving him a positive feeling of where he stands in life, " I stood there holding my gun and felt special because I was finally a part of something that took me seriously and I was not running from someone anymore. " (124) . The Lieutenant as well as the army had become his family and gave him   a reason to keep going instead of giving up. Ishmael is devasted, angry and confused when Lt. Jabati hands him over to UNICEF. "We thought we were part of war until the end. The squad had been our family. Now we were being taken away, just like that without any explanation" (129-130), Ishmael describes his feelings on leaving the army. At this point in the story he has yet to realize that Lt. Jabati's decision probably saved his life. It was his intuition that influenced him to send Ishmael...

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