Study Guide

Gasemu in A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier

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Ishmael and his friends run into Gasemu on their way to find their parents. Gasemu is collecting bananas, but recognizes Ishmael instantly from their hometown and lets him know that his father, mother, and brothers are waiting for him in a nearby village and they are—wonder of wonders—alive and well.

When the boys arrive just in time to see the village being attacked, Ishmael blames Gasemu for delaying them. If they'd only arrived a few minutes earlier, he could have seen his family. However, the other boys remind Ishmael that Gasemu also saved their lives. If they'd arrived a few minutes earlier, they'd have been gunned down, too.

In the end, Gasemu helps the boys escape the village and leads them on a path to Yele. He's also shot in the process. As Ishmael watches the old man die, he regrets having attacked him and is grateful for the role Gasemu played in saving his life.

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