Study Guide

A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier Chapter 8

By Ishmael Beah

Chapter 8

  • Ishmael travels non-stop for two more days after this. Eventually, he comes to a forest and makes a kind of home there. He also gets a little bit lost trying to find his way out.
  • He's able to find some food and sleep in trees at night to feel safer. The worst part is just the loneliness. He only has animals for company for about a month until he runs into people again.
  • He sees some boys walking towards him on a path and is instantly afraid until he realizes who they are. There are six boys—Alhaji, Musa, Kanei, Saidu, Jumah, and Moriba—and three of them are kids he knows from school.
  • One of the boys tells him things are gonna be okay. Ishmael decides to join their little group.
  • Of course, now they're a group of seven teenaged boys travelling around again, so they are striking fear into the hearts of everyone they meet.
  • In one village, they see an old man who tells them that everyone ran away when they heard seven boys were coming towards the village. They left him behind because he can barely walk.
  • The boys ask for directions to Yele—a village they think might be safe—and he tells them where to go. The old man also tells them he's sad that the war has destroyed people's hearts. When you're worried about keeping yourself alive, it's hard to care about others.
  • When the boys ask the old man's name, he says he won't tell them. He says they can tell people he's the old man who got left behind. And that's exactly what Ishmael does in this book.

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