A Long Way Gone

By: Ishmael Beah

Internal Characterization

  • Ishmael Beah is a young boy who is trying to survive a war within his country with only himself and his friends together.
  • Many times, he experienced hunger to the extent of where it hurt to drink water and had cramps in the pit of their stomach.
  • When he was with his friends, they went through many hardships. One was when the rebels came to the village they were in and began recruiting people to the rebels side; they were almost killed then by the rebels.

Historical Connections

The Mende Tribe

  • In A Long Way Gone, Ishmael is apart of the Mende tribe.
  • This tribe is greatly associated with tribal masks, art, and twin figures.
  • This tribe come to Sierra Leone, Africa in the time frame of 200-1500 AD.

Vocabulary Words


  • A roofed platform along the outside of a house, level with the ground floor (like a patio or sun porch)


A broad, heavy knife used as an implement or weapon, originating in Central Ameria and the Caribbean



"We were so hungry....we rushed on the boy at the same time, and before he knew what was happening, we had taken the corn from him" (Beah 30). Ishmael and his friends were so hungry so they had to chase down a little boy just to get an ear of corn to satisfy their hunger.


"...all of the sudden a couple of enormous pigs came running at me. They chased me for about half a mile as I looked for a tree to climb" (Beah 53). Ishmael has a conflict between himself and nature. He has to fight against nature (in this case the pigs) and find safety from them.