Study Guide

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Chapter 10

By Ishmael Beah

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Chapter 10

  • The boys keep moving on, sometimes finding food and shelter in random villages.
  • Saidu tells the group that he's just waiting for death. He should have died so many times before; now it's like a part of him dies every time he thinks that.
  • Later, in another village, the boys are welcomed with food and celebrations. It's a great place, but they can't stay. The war will come there eventually, too. No one can escape it.
  • One night, Musa offers to tell a folk story about Bra Spider. This spider wanted to experience all the feasts of all the different villages around him, so he tied ropes to his stomach and told the villagers to tug on them when their food was ready.
  • Unfortunately for Bra Spider, every village started their feast at the same time, so he got pulled in all directions at once and, as a result, missed every single feast.
  • Ishmael thinks about his family a lot. He misses his mother and father and two brothers and his grandmother.
  • He remembers the story his grandmother told him about his naming ceremony. The whole town came out to celebrate.
  • He was named Ishmael and passed around to everyone. He belonged to the community and they would care for him. He wishes he could go back to those days.
  • Ishmael lets us know what happened to each of the boys he's travelling with and how they got separated from their families in the attacks.
  • Saidu has the most horrific story. The rebels came to his house and raped his three sisters and then took his parents and sisters hostage. During all of this, Saidu happened to be hiding upstairs so the rebels never found him.
  • Yup. That will definitely scar you for life.
  • One day, as they're walking, the boys come across a raven who just falls out of the sky and they decide to eat it. Musa isn't so sure, but they're hungry so they cook it up anyway. Things just aren't right after that.
  • That night, the boys see three figures that they swear are ghosts. Saidu faints in fear.
  • Eventually, Ishmael and his friends walk on and find a village where they're welcomed.
  • A woman there tells Ishmael she saw his parents and brothers in the next village over. There's a lot of folks from their area there—the boys might all find their families.
  • Ishmael wants to leave right away, but the boys all decide to spend the night in this friendly town. Why not rest before the big day?
  • Sadly, things take a terrible turn that night. Saidu dies. The boys and the villagers bury him and say some prayers.
  • The next morning, the remaining six boys get up to travel to the village where Ishmael's family might be. It's a bittersweet moment because Ishmael can't help wondering which one of them will be the next to go.

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