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20+ Best 'A Long Way Gone' Quotes With Meanings

A Long Way Gone' is about a boy soldier stuck in a civil war

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier' is a memoir by Ishmael Beah.

This book is based on true events that occurred in the author’s life. The book was received well by both critics and the audience upon its publication in 2007.

'A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier' features some amazing quotes. The book was published on the 13 February, 2007.  The quotes in this book can give you an idea about the amazing writing that it features. A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier is about a lot of things, including hope, civil war and Sierra Leone. The protagonist is a boy soldier named Ishmael Beah. 'A Long Way Gone' is considered to be one of the best contemporary novels. Moreover, 'A Long Way Gone' is often taught in academic setups too. That is the beauty of 'A Long Way Gone'.

The book recounts how Beah had to flee his village at age 12, after it was taken over by rebels. The army unit that took him in brainwashed him into using guns and drugs at the young age of 13. He was soon rescued by UNICEF, and was eventually adopted by his uncle. In this book, he talks about what he witnessed in Sierra Leone and how it shaped him.

Ishmael Beah quotes from this book are bound to move you. The violent reality of a civil war coupled with the lost childhood of Ishmael and his hopeful character make for a brilliant plot. Again, the whole book’s genius can be glimpsed in this one quote, “When I was young......she will die.” Continue reading our article to understand the depth and meaning behind this quote.

This article will include a variety of 'A Long Way Gone' quotes. It will include Ishmael Beah quotes, 'A Long Way Gone' quotes about rap, 'A Long Way Gone' quotes about hope, and 'A Long Way Gone' quotes about music. You’ll also find civil war quotes, child soldier quotes, loss of innocence quotes, and 'A Long Way Gone' quotes about child soldiers. As this novel is often included in the university curriculum, you may be looking for these quotes for academic purposes. Thus, you should also check out 'A Long Way Gone' summary and A Long Way Gone characters list. 'A Long Way Gone' themes and quotes should be studied if you want to truly understand this book.

Before you dive into this article, take a look at [Sunday inspirational quotes] and [hardship quotes]. You are sure to love these quotes articles as well as our extensive collection of other quotes articles. Share these quotes with your loved ones so that they know they are an important part of your life.

Profound A Long Way Gone Quotes

The horrors of war are captured in 'A Long Way Gone

A Long Way Gone' features some really profound quotes. You are sure to like these quotes and will surely want to share them with your friends and family as well. Sometimes in life, you need some motivation, and quotes from 'A Long Way Gone' can give you exactly the motivation your need. Go ahead and have a look at them!

1. “When he was close enough and behind a tree where he could clearly see the monkey, he raised his rifle and aimed. Just when he was about to pull the trigger, the monkey spoke: 'If you shoot me, your mother will die, and if you don’t, your father will die'.”

- Pa Sesay, chapter 22.

This quote shows a hunter getting ready to kill a monkey when the hunter is suddenly faced with a moral dilemma. It forces readers to evaluate what they would do in such a situation.

2. “This not only meant that you were scarred for life but that you could never escape from them, because escaping with the carving of the rebels’ initials was asking for death, as soldiers would kill you without any questions and militant civilians would do the same.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter three.

Ishmael ponders over whether fleeing is even a risk worth taking as it would only end up with them being captured by RUF fighters who would make them join the army. Death or killing is what awaits them.    

3. “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.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter 10.

This quote highlights how embracing death is the only choice left. Despite embracing death, he keeps managing to escape it but his spirit of fighting and hoping has already been destroyed.    

4. “That night for the first time in my life I realized that it is the physical presence of people and their spirits that gives a town life. With the absence of so many people, the town became scary, the night darker, and the silence unbearably agitating.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter three.

As social beings, we are bound to feel more complete around other people. Towns once brimming with joy and the daily affairs of people become desolate, scary places when no one is around.

5. “I joined the army really because of the loss of my family and starvation. I wanted to avenge the deaths of my family. I also had to get some food to survive, and the only way to do that was to be part of the army. It was not easy being a soldier, but we just had to do it.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter 28.

Ishmael's UN speech highlights the circumstances that put his on his destructive path. His desire to get revenge on those who killed his family and his survival instinct led him to join the army. The promise of safety and food made him vulnerable, just as it does to so many others.  

6. “One of the unsettling about my journey, mentally, physically, and emotionally, was that I wasn’t sure when or where it was going to end.”

- Ishmael Beah, page 69.

This quote highlights just how damaging civil war and terrorism can be for the victims of such violence.

7. “Our innocence had been replaced by fear and we had become monsters. There was nothing we could do about it.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter eight.

War had turned innocent children into people that were feared among the masses.

8. “My childhood had gone by without my knowing, and it seemed as if my heart had frozen. I knew that day and night came and went because of the presence of the moon and the sun, but I had no idea whether it was a Sunday or a Friday.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter 15.

This quote shows the effects of war and how it can completely change a person. Participating in violence had turned Ishmael into a cold hearted person and they were just living each day as it came without being mindful of all that was really happening.    

Melancholic A Long Way Gone Quotes

The tone of the whole book is quite melancholic and thus, it is only natural for it to include some really melancholic lines. Here are some melancholic 'A Long Way Gone' quotes. This collection of quotes is melancholic for sure, but they also carry a lot of life lessons. Once you have read these quotes, you will surely want to share them with your loved ones.

9: “As I hopped up and down, hunched and raising my arms and feet to the music, I thought about being thrown in the ocean, about how difficult it would be to know that death was inevitable.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter nine.

This quote highlights the magic of hip hop but when your life is in danger, it's hard to fully enjoy it.      

10: “I took off my old pants, which contained the rap cassettes. As I was putting on my new army shorts, a soldier took my old pants and threw them into a blazing fire that had been set to burn our old belongings. I ran toward the fire, but the cassettes had already started to melt. Tears formed in my eyes, and my lips shook as I turned away.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter 12.

This is a symbolic quote that highlights that the good days of Ishmael's life where he enjoyed music have been replaced by war.  

11: “We lost a few adult soldiers on our side and my friends Musa and Josiah. Musa, the storyteller, was gone. There was no one around to tell us stories and make us laugh at times when we needed it.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter 13.

This quote shows the loss of the past with the loss of stories that provided Ishmael some relief from the cruel present.  

12: “But we knew we had no choice, we had to make it across the clearing because, as young boys, the risk of staying in town was greater for us than trying to escape. Young boys were immediately recruited, and the initials RUF were carved wherever it pleased the rebels, with a hot bayonet.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter three.

Ishmael wants to risk fleeing instead of being captured by the RUF fighters and being branded.

13: “I was glad to see other faces and at the same time disappointed that the war had destroyed the enjoyment of the very experience of meeting people. Even a twelve-year-old couldn’t be trusted anymore.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter seven.

The uncertainty of war takes away one's curiosity and the joy of meeting people because of the environment of distrust created where even a 12 year old can't be trusted.

14: “This was one of the consequences of the civil war. People stopped trusting each other, and every stranger became an enemy. Even people who knew you became extremely careful about how they related or spoke to you.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter six.

This quote shows the environment of distrust that is created due to war where people are weary of others and cautious about whom they speak to.

15: “I was sad to leave, but I was also pleased to have met people outside of Sierra Leone. Because if I was to get killed upon my return, I knew that a memory of my existence was alive somewhere in the world.”

- Ishmael Beah, page 200.

This quote highlights Ishmael's development and the positive effects of rehabilitation where he is interested in meeting people and wants to make an impact on the world.  

16: “We took a bowl each and started eating. He went back into the little room, and by the time he returned to the table with his own bowl of food to eat with us, we had already finished. He was shocked and looked around to see if we had done something else with the food.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter 15.

This quote highlights the hunger of the boys due to their deprivation.

Funny And Hopeful A Long Way Gone Quotes

Even though the whole book is quite grim, there are glimmers of hope in the book. Here are some funny and hopeful 'A Long Way Gone' quotes. These quotes make the book light in some sections and also give us some really hopeful quotes that we can share. Take a look at these hopeful and funny quotes below. We are sure you will love them.

17: “I told him that we rapped. He didn’t know what rap music was, so I did my best to explain it to him. ‘It is similar to telling parables, but in the white man’s language,’ I concluded.”

- Ishmael Beah, chapter six.

This quote shows the power of hip hop and what it means to Ishmael.  

18: “We must strive to be like the moon.”

- Ishmael Beah, page 16.

This is something Ishmael's grandmother told him to remind him to always be good to others and on his best behavior.

19: “When I was young, my father used to say, ‘If you are alive, there is hope for a better day and something good to happen. If there is nothing good left in the destiny of a person, he or she will die.’ I thought about these words during my journey, and they kept me moving even when I didn’t know where I was going.”

- Ishmael Beah, page 54.

Ishmael talks about what his father used to tell him and these words are responsible for filling him with hope and allowing him to continue to live each day.  

20: “The branches of the trees looked as if they were holding hands and bowing their heads in prayer.”

- Ishmael Beah, page 119.

This quote represents the personification of nature.

Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly quotes for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for 'A Long Way Gone quotes', then why not take a look at [black history inspirational quotes] or inspiring quotes for teens.

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