Study Guide

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Chapter 11

By Ishmael Beah

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Chapter 11

  • As the boys are heading to the next village—which is two days walk away—Moriba begins to cry. They're all sad about Saidu, but no one really has the luxury of grief right now. They've got to keep surviving.
  • Finally, the boys get close to the village. Ishmael spots an old man named Gasemu that he knows from his hometown.
  • Gasemu asks them to help him carry bananas back down the hill. He also confirms that their families are in the village waiting to see them.
  • As they walk, Gasemu asks Ishmael if he still gets into trouble. Who has time for making trouble these days? Ishmael tells him.
  • The boys and Gasemu rest at the top of a hill before heading down into the village. Ishmael is anxious, but he waits with everyone anyway. The kid just wants to hug his mom.
  • Right as they're headed down the hill to the village, Ishmael hears gunshots.
  • Gasemu and the group of boys hide in some bushes and listen to the screams of the people below.
  • When the gunfire stops, Ishmael heads down to see if he can find his family. They're nowhere. Not even their bodies.
  • Ishmael is enraged. He's mad at everyone. The world. How unfair this all is. He was so close to seeing them. Sure, if he'd gone to his family a few minutes earlier, he'd be dead. But wouldn't being dead with them be better than this nightmare?
  • The boys all start fighting and Gasemu tries to break them up when they hear rebels talking about attacks on the nearby villages. After a few hours, the rebels hear them moving around and come looking for them.
  • The boys and Gasemu are able to run far and fast to get away from them, but not without experiencing another casualty. Gasemu has been shot.
  • Ishmael and the other boys sit with him while he dies. Finally, they walk his body to a coffee farm and Ishmael thinks about what it must feel like to take your last breath.

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