Study Guide

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Chapter 6

By Ishmael Beah

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Chapter 6

  • Being a group of six boys wandering around isn't easy. People who see Ishmael and his friends think they might be rebels. There are rumors about children working for the rebel army who are especially vicious when they raid villages and kill people.
  • But sticking together is safer than being apart.
  • One day, Ishmael and his friends are travelling past a village when the local guards stop them and demand to know if they're working with the rebels. When they deny it, the men tie them up and bring them to see the village chief.
  • The chief thinks they might be liars so he orders them drowned, but one of the guards finds a hip hop cassette tape in Ishmael's pocket. It's Naughty by Nature.
  • When the chief plays the tape, he starts asking Ishmael where he got this song and what hip hop is.
  • Ishmael mentions that he was part of a rap dance group in Mattru Jong and the chief calls in a boy from that village who claims to know Ishmael and his friends.
  • Of course, Ishmael doesn't recognize the boy at all, but he sure pretends to. The kid ends up saving their lives because the villagers let the boys go.
  • On the road again, Ishmael and his friends hear that Gibrilla has an aunt living in a village called Kamator, so they head that way.
  • Kamator is expecting a rebel attack, so Ishmael and his friends get to stand watch every day in return for food and shelter. It's a pretty good deal.
  • Eventually, the villagers decide that the rebels aren't coming. Ishmael and company know this is a big mistake. Remember what happened in Mattru Jong? No one will listen to them.
  • The boys are given farm and harvest duty, which Ishmael hates and also happens to be pretty terrible at.
  • This goes on for several months. It's not pleasant work, but it's better than being homeless and hungry.
  • Ishmael sees a little boy starting a fight and he thinks of himself. He was always getting into trouble back home. Mostly because kids would make fun of him because his parents weren't married anymore. Kids are cruel. That's why you should never give them guns.
  • Ishmael and his friends spend three months farming in Kamator, but it all turns out to be a waste. Eventually the rebels attack and the people are forced to leave all their carefully cultivated lands.
  • This is also the last time Ishmael ever sees his brother again.

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