Ishmael Beah’s Families

Published: 2021-07-20 12:05:06
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Familys in a childs life has the most impact on them. It shows them how to grow up and who to trust. In the book “A Long Way Home” by Ismael Beah, is a true memoir about a boy named Ismael Beah who grows up with many struggles and no family. He was only about twelve years old when he was performing at a rap group and his village was attacked by the Civil War in Sierra Leone leaving him and his group of friends homeless without their families. While they are alone they struggle finding food and a shelter in different villages.
While Ishmael is looking for his family in different villages, he is captured by Lieutenant Jabati which turns him into a boy soldier killing innocent people and making him addicted to drugs. He is then found by UNICEF which puts him in rehab to help him find a future and fix what has happened to him in the past. But it was not easy for him to express himself, until he finds a nurse named Esther who helps him express himself by giving him a walkman with rap; which helped him express what has happened in his past. He is then welcomed to live with his Uncle Tommy in Sierra Leone, who is his next new father figure.
He is then more confident about himself and shares his storys with the United Nations in New York. Which helps him meet his foster mom named Laura Simms who helps brighten up his future and moves then lets him move to the United States with her. Ishmael then later returns to Freetown, Sierra Leone to live with Uncle Tommy again and while he is there the Civil War returns. His Uncle Tommys dies and then Ishmael moves back to the United States to live a new life. While Ishmael was growing up he never really had a real family.
But he had many people to replace being in his own family, who gave shelter and trust. The people who played a role were Lieutenant Jabati, Esther, Uncle Tommy, and Laura Simms. If Ishmael had grown up with a family he would have probably been shaped very different then having to go through the suffering he had gone through. And Ishmael would have learned better things growing up with a family. During Ishmaels struggle he finds a family figure which keeps him surving with not much help. The first person to play a role as a family member is The Army Lietenant.
He was found to be a father figure to Ishmael because he teaches him to be a soldier by brainwashing him with drugs. In the book it says, “ The boys and the other soldiers who were the audience clapped… I was given the rank of junior lieutenant…. We celebrated that day’s achievment with more drugs.. ”(125). Also he had felt as a father figure because just like his father before he had past away the Lieutenant loved shakespeare. Another big point was that while he was a boy soldier and before that he had lost lots of friends which had made him put all his trust into the Lieutenant.
Another point is that he had always called all the shots and this made him give respect. His last example is that he had erased Ishmaels name and turned it into “Green Snake” which makes Ishmael fell like he had created a new person and the old him was gone. All of these things had made Ishmael look up to the Lieutenant as a huge father figure but when the Lietenant had let him go to UNICEF he had felt very sad and betrayed. Another family figure which Ishmael finds during his struggle and finding out who he is was is his nurse Esther. Esther is a huge part which helps him survive becuase she buys him a walkman.
The music is helping him heal and is helping him get through his migraines from the drugs that the Lieutenant made him use and the hurtful memories he had. While letting out his emotion with Esther he is saving himseld from himself because if he had not let out his memories the pain would stay with in him. Even though it was hard for Ishmael to trust someone after being betrayed by the Lieutenant he had for the first time again. It was easy for him because Esther had made him feel as him she was his mother or sister by helping him feel love and being around the same age as him.
The third person who had Ishmael been a family figure to Ishmael was his Uncle Tommy who he had looked up to as a father figure. His Uncle Tommy started to visit him every weekened and started gaining trust. When he was let out of rehab Uncle Tommy took him in like a son. The reason why he had been a huge help because many people had known about his past and did not want to take Ishmael in to there house knowing he had been through a lot and could snap but his uncle tommy had looked beside that and wanted to give him a future. His Uncle
Tommy wanted to give him love, acceptance, and wanted Ishmael to be a child again like he couldnt be. In the book it says “all I could think about was the discovery of a family I never thought existed. I was happy, but I had become accustomed to not showing it” (178). This is showing that ot had been making it a lot easier for Ishmael to heal from all of his horrible past again but he had not healed up all the way yet. Last but not least while Ishmael was at the United Nation Conference in New York city he had ran into a story teller named Laura Simms. After the conference she had talked to many kids but had found Ishmael to be very special.
So when he goes back to Sierra Leone she sends him money and he moves back and she becomes his foster mom. All this had made Ishmael feel wanted and loved again. With the love that Laura had showed him and compassion it had made it easier for ishameal to clear the road block to trusting and having a good future. She had also been a good Foster mom because even though she had known the kind of struggle he had in the past she had still took him in to her safe and peaceful home. In conclusion the importance to having a family while growing up can shape your future and who you are.
Ishmael had struggled since he was twelve years old and has had four different people play a family role in his life. It was either Lieutenant Jabati who was looked on as a father figure, Esther who was looked at as a sister and a mother, Uncle Tommy who was looked at as a father figure, and last but not least Laura Simms who was looked at as a mother figure. I believe every child should live in a house with a family and food because if it wasnt for all of these friends and families he would probably not have made it to succed and be where he is now, a new person.

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