Study Guide

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Chapter 5

By Ishmael Beah

Chapter 5

  • The six boys are so hungry that they end up attacking a little boy they see eating two ears of corn. The boy's parents don't say anything and give Ishmael and his friends another ear of corn. You don't mess with hungry teenagers.
  • Ishmael and his friends are so hungry they don't know where to go, so they head back to Mattru Jong.
  • Bad idea.
  • There, they're surprised by an armed rebel who points a gun at them and marches them back into town with some other hostages.
  • Ishmael watches as the rebels mock an old man and frighten him by shooting near his head, but not killing him.
  • The rebels declare that they're going to recruit from the group of hostages they've found. They choose Ishmael to join them, but not his brother, Junior.
  • The rebels decide to pick again. This time Junior is chosen, not Ishmael. We do not have a good feeling about this.
  • The rebels tell their new recruits that they're about to watch them kill the leftover people. This will toughen them up for war. Ishmael is so terrified he can barely hold back his tears.
  • Just then, they all hear gunshots coming from the river. Some of the rebels run for cover and their prisoners scatter. Smart move, prisoners.
  • Ishmael manages to hide in the forest where he remains absolutely still and silent. He can hear the rebels rounding people up, but they don't find him.
  • After about an hour, Ishmael hears Junior's voice. It turns out Junior, Talloi, Kaloko, Gibrilla, and Khalilou have all run in the same direction. All the boys are safe.
  • At dawn, the boys finally speak and decide they need to go somewhere else. Anywhere else. They just need to get away from this madness.

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