A long Way Gone Essay Test



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A Long Way Gone Essay Test

Part 1. Choose 3 of the following 5 essay questions to answer. Each answer should be at least one-two paragraphs in length. Make sure to include evidence (quotes and page numbers) from the text to support your answers.

1. This book describes two kinds of domestic living in detail, village life and city life. Which does Ishmael prefer, and why?

2. Violence is, of course, a major theme in these pages—physical, psychological, social, and otherwise. Indeed, some of the more violent passages in this book make for very difficult if not unsettling reading. In a brief essay, reflect on what Ishmael’s many violent experiences taught you about the consequences or aftereffects, both intended and unintended, of violence.

3. Benin Home, where Ishmael undergoes psychological, emotional, and social counseling, as well as physical and medical attention, is where he keeps hearing the “this isn’t your fault” remark from various staffers and professionals. Does he ever really accept this mantra? Explain.

4. In Chapter 17, Ishmael describes “the first time [he’d] dreamt of [his] family since [he] started running away from the war” (p. 165). Paraphrase this nightmare, explaining how it differs from the many other dreams we’ve heard about from Ishmael. Also, explain how the dream illustrates his inner conflicts.

5. As he is leaving Benin Home, Ishmael says farewell to his friend Alhaji, who salutes him while whispering, “Goodbye, squad leader.” “I couldn’t salute him in return,” Ishmael writes (p. 180). Why?



Part 2. Choose one of the following essay topics to answer. Your answer should be at least five paragraphs in length. Make sure to include evidence (quotes and page numbers) from the text to support your answers.

  1. Thesis: In Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, the reader learns that everyone needs the help of at least one positive influence/mentor to become successful; success does not randomly occur. Make sure to include an introductory paragraph with the thesis statement above. For paragraph 2-major point 1, consider Ishmael during his darkest days. Who impacts him negatively? For paragraph 3-major point 2, consider the positive influence(s) that change the course of Ishmael’s life. Give two examples for each major point. For paragraph 4-opposite case scenario, consider what would become of Ishmael without the positive impact/help of others and also consider that there must be successful people who did not have positive influences: “Bootstrap theory: People can raise themselves out of poverty by their own bootstraps/without help from others.” Paragraph 5-conclusion, should summarize your findings. Be specific and elaborate.



  1. Thesis: In Ishmael Beah’s A Long Way Gone, the reader learns that if people do not help out others in a time of crisis, they are no better than the people creating the crisis. Make sure to include an introductory paragraph with the thesis statement above. For paragraph 2-major point one, consider the negative influences in Ishmael’s life. How are these people no better than the actual RUF? For paragraph 3-major point two, consider the positive influences in Ishmael’s life and remember the cliché, “If one is not part of the solution, one is part of the problem.” Give two examples of each major point. For paragraph 4-opposite case scenario, suggest how Ishmael would have been in a better situation if not for the negative influences, consider how he would suffer if not for the positive influences, counterargument: 1) Consider that victims are not obligated to help other victims, and 2) How can a victim be just as guilty as the people inflicting harm? Paragraph 5-conclusion, should summarize your findings. Be specific and elaborate.



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