A Long Way Gone

Chapters 5-8

Internal Characterization

Chapters 5-8 are really sad. There isn't any kind of happiness or joy that Ishmael feels. His is constantly sad and throughout these chapters, he loses everything. The only thing Ishmael had left after his village was attacked, was his brother and his friends. Once he got separated from them, there was no one there to make him feel happy or to make him laugh. When Ishmael is in the forest, he kept remembering this that his grandfather taught him like different plants that could be turned into medicine. While he was in the forest, he grew inside and the forest changed him into a better person.

Historical Connection

During these chapters, Ishmael is running away from the rebels during a civil war in his country. This can relate to a historical event because during America's civil war we also had "rebels" but I think we called them by a different name, the Confederates. During our civil war, the Confederates captured many towns and controlled many states. In Ishmael's situation, the rebels took over and controlled many villages. Also in Ishmael's story, the rebels forced many boys to join them, whereas in America we pretty much had the same thing, we just called it a draft, and didn't put that young of people in the draft.

Two Important Vocabulary Words


Cassava is a plant or vegetable, that is constantly talked about throughout the chapters. Ishmael has to eat the plant raw while he's traveling through all of the abandoned villages and that's if he's lucky to find it. It kind of looks like a long potato.


Though out these chapters, the word crapes is used and this is the African word for sneakers. For example, " I had nothing to carry, so I filled my pockets with oranges, tied the laces of my tattered crapes, and I was ready to go." (Beah, 46)


These chapters take place through out many different villages that Ishmael and his friends travel to. They eventually have to go back to their home village, Mattru Jong. All of the villages that Ishmael traveled to are in the same country though some were not villages at all. In chapter 7, Ishmael must live in the forest for about a week until he encounters a pack of wild pigs and has to leave. Once he is out of the forest he encounters a group of boys he used to go to school with, and decides to stay with them. They encounter many abandoned villages and finally reach a village with only one old man in it because everyone else had already left. They are then again safe but only for the night.

Man vs. Self

In these chapters, Ismael is having a hard time fighting what he's feeling on the inside. Throughout the chapters, he's feeling sad, he just doesn't know how to express it. Chapter 7 says, "As soon as I left the hiding area, and was on the path, I felt as if I was being wrapped in a blanket of sorrow. It came over me instantly. I started to cry. I didn't know why." (Beah, 46) During this part of the book, Ishmael is on his way to the jungle where he stayed for a while, bu this is the first time he shows any emotion since he lost his brother. He didn't know how do deal with it so eventually, all of the emotions just built up and finally came flooding out.

Man Vs. Society

Throughout the whole book, Ishmael is fighting with society. He is fighting the rebels who have taken everything that he has. He is always running from them, and the seem to follow him everywhere. The rebels are the bad side of society but the "good" side, doesn't help him or others, or if they try, they always end up dying or running away not taking anyone with them.