A LONG WAY GONE – Chapters 10-13: Answer questions below in complete thoughts, assuming that your audience does not know the book that well – and does not know what you are thinking! Avoid vague phrases as answers. Explain your answer as you would to a friend or family member who has not read the book.
- On page 70, Saidu, one of the boys says, “How many more times do we have to come to terms with death before we find safety?” He goes on to say, “Every time people come at us with the intention of killing us, I close my eyes and wait for death. Even though I am still alive, I feel like each time I accept death, part of me dies. Very soon I will completely die and all that will be left is my empty body walking with you. It will be quieter than I am.”
What theme or idea is Beah exploring here? State the theme/idea in your own words and then write your own opinion of how adversity can figurative “kill” someone slowly.
- What is the usefulness and significance of a story like Bra Spider to the culture that tells and retells it? (Think about the reason a culture has myths!)
What particular cultural value or lesson does this myth reveal?
- What is the significance of Beah’s name-giving ceremony? Why does he share that story at this point in the book?
- Why does Beah take his anger out on Gasemu? Does Gasemu deserve it at all?
- What is the significance of this shift in Beah’s demeanor? (Think about how it shows a change from the young boy we met at the beginning of the story).
- Who do you believe killed the man and the boy who decided to leave the village? Was it the rebels or the soldiers, in order to make a point? Explain your answer and use EVIDENCE from the novel (at least 1) to support your opinion.
- What is the significance of Beah’s music being destroyed in this chapter?
- The boys were trained to be soldiers with this mantra: Visualize the enemy, the rebels who killed your parents, your family, and those who are responsible for everything that has happened to you. Why was this training so effective?
THINK about what you would do in this situation. Write how you would behave similarly, or differently, from Beah – be specific in what you would DO or not do.
- Why did the army get the child soldiers hooked on drugs?
- Describe the transformation that happens to Beah on pages 118-120.
What do you think has CAUSED this transformation? List at least 2 things and be specific in why you think that are causes.
A MOTIF is a reoccurring symbol or object that ties ideas and events together. Night, nature, and dreams are some key motifs in the novel. How does Beah end Chapter 13? Where have you seen this same motif?