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Propaganda And Drugs Vs. Inner Nature

902 words - 4 pages




In A Long Way Gone, the author Ishmael Beah uses the characterization of the characters thoughts and actions which creates the meaning that society and a person’s inner nature are always at war. The author also uses Ishmael’s internal conflict of constantly loosing everyone around him to further portray this theme.

First, Ishmael arrived at the village Yele which then became a symbol of hope and innocence. In this passage, Ishmael’s inner nature was battling society because he did not want to go to war, however the army wanted to brainwash him into thinking it was the right thing to do. Further, characterization of his thoughts reveals how innocent and child-like he still was because when he first saw the injured people on their way to Yele he felt “nauseated”(Beah 100) and had to look away, this indicates that he disliked war and violence. This also indicates that Ishmael would never have joined the army without its influence.Then Ishmael looked away the soldier said that he would get used to it. This interaction with the soldier makes Ishmael seem more child-like because the soldier’s acted superior and more experienced. In addition, he was still a child upon arriving in Yele, where he could finally feel safe. In Yele there was always “lively chattering and laughter” (Beah 101). It was a place where “girls played clapping games”(Beah 102), the boys “played soccer”(Beah 102). Thanks to this village Ishmael had regained some of his childhood. But then the army took it away again. The lieutenant got up in front of all the civilians and told them to fight. He said that they had a choice but he was lying, the rebels had surrounded the village, if they left they would have no food, and no protection, they would be walking to their deaths. Then the lieutenant started talking about “revenge”(Beah 106). Ishmael had been running away from the war for so long but Ishmael’s fear of loosing people made him believe the lieutenant. The army’s propaganda worked on him because the rebels killed his family. In Ishmael’s situation revenge seemed like the best idea, possibly even seemed noble.

Next, Ishmael became numb and left his innocence behind. Indeed, Ishmael’s inner nature was battling society because society wanted to make him a soldier whose prime concern was killing and survival. Society overpowered his inner nature with the help of drugs. Moreover, the characterization of his actions display how he was changing. Notably, Ishmaels turning point was when his cassettes were thrown “into the fire”(Beah111) and the last bit of...

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