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Literary Techniques Used In The Memoir Of Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone, Memoirs Of A Boy Soldier

1102 words - 4 pages

In the memoir of Ishmael Beah, A Long Way Gone, Memoirs of a Boy Soldier, Beah states that his life’s journey has been a huge obstacle, but has learned to overcome that struggle by venting while the two contradictory sides continue their battling. Beah accomplishes his goal of explaining to the reader his point of view through the use of rhetorical questions, scenic narration, and parallelism. Ishmael Beah’s apparent purpose is to share personal accounts of his life with his fellow country men, in a country where war affects people to a level beyond the imagination. He is able to apply his purpose using a grotesque and bitter tone. Beah approaches his audience of ordinary people in this manner in order to vent his feelings about war by sharing life experiences with his reader.
To begin, Beah is able to begin his process of revealing his purpose through his use of rhetorical questions. For example, Beah asks, “But what kind of liberation movement shoots innocent civilians, children, that little girl?” This question startles the reader in the way that it is presented. Beah, who is about thirteen years of age, asks this question awaiting an answer but turns into a rhetorical question when no one is able to give a retort to it. Beah is expecting a response in which someone will state how brutal and malicious the rebels actually were. Further into Ishmael Beah’s memoir, another rhetorical question comes into effect. Beah asks, “How many more times do we have to come to terms with death before we find safety?” This question depicts only a diminutive amount of emotion as Beah and his friends basically personify death. Death is seen as a human-being. In retelling this horrific event, Beah and his followers come face-to-face with death a great deal of times, and every time they are placed in that position of trepidation, they shown mercy. Through Beah’s use of questions, the reader is able ponder on the question as if Beah is asking the questions to him or her.
Secondly, Beah describes gruesome, fearful, and horrific times and scenes with the help of scenic narration. For example, Beah says, “I am pushing a rusty wheelbarrow in a town where the air smells of blood and burnt flesh. The breeze brings the faint cries of those whose last breaths are leaving their mangled bodies. I walk past them. Their arms and legs are missing, their intestines spill out through the bullet holes in their stomachs, brain matter comes out of their noses and ears.” This statement gives an excellent and direct impression of the brutality of the rebels. Conceivably, this could be labeled as a massive genocide in the way Beah retells it. A Long Way Gone is full of daunting scenes and bitter language. Ishmael Beah states, “Setting the body on the ground, I start to unwrap it, beginning at the feet. All the way up to the neck, there are bullet holes. One bullet has crushed the Adam’s apple and sent the remains of it to the back of the throat. I lift the cloth from the body’s...

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