A Long Way Gone Chapters 5-8

Daniel Castaneda

Internal Characterization

Ishmael's motivation to keep on going even after he has experienced such a mass amount of violence and death. He has been scared by how much killing he has seen, also from losing his friends in a raid of a village and wishes that things we back to how they were. He was on the verge of dying due to the lack of food. His plan was to keep walking straight in the opposite direction from which he had come from. He walked and met a family swimming and when he came close he could see that he scared them and felt saddened by the thought that 12 year old boys couldn't be trusted at all.

Historical Connection

In this article it is talking about how seeing a child as a soldier isn't anything new in our world today. Researchers say that there has been a rise of children used as soldiers in the past years and weapons that increase that number are getting cheaper and cheaper. In 1988 researchers say over 200 thousand people under the age of 16 have fought in a war. It also says that because children can be soldiers they can't be trusted as much in the countries that it occurs in. Just like in the book Ishmael is turned into a soldier, killing people for food and for the rebels' cause. This is still going on today and is increasing because they are easier to intimidate and therefore grow around violence thinking that this is the way of life.

Important Vocabulary

Imam- An imam is a worship leader of a mosque or also known as an Islamic leadership type of position.

Cassava- It can also be called yuca or manioc, it is the root of a tropical tree and must be prepared carefully if eaten to remove the cyanide from the flesh of the root.


The setting in A Long Way Gone is Sierra Leone in Africa. Ishmael travels a lot throughout the book moving from village to village but nonetheless stays within Sierra Leone. In the book his plan is to go to Bonthe where it is supposedly the safest since it is guarded by Sierra Leone soldiers.


Man vs. Self: Ishmael is constantly deciding as to what to do. His decisions could kill him or help him survive. At first he had trouble deciding as to either leave his friends and go his own way or stay with them and hope they find somewhere safe. Later on he decides to leave Kaloko in a swamp type of village and go on his own and walk for what seems to be an endless amount of time. Always traveling in the opposite direction from which he came from hoping to find another village.

Man vs. Man: Ishmael encounters the rebels a lot throughout the book and almost dies every time he encounters them. First they were walking around when they are caught by rebels at gunpoint. They tell Ishmael and his friends to kill the people they captured within the village but instead other people are chosen for the task and then gunfire starts and Ishmael and his friends escape. Later on they are in a village when a group of rebels attack the village and surprise them. Ishmael and his friends are split up leaving only Kaloko and Ishmael together and they have no idea as to what happened to their other friends.