A Long Way Gone

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A Long Way Gone Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
When the boy stop that night, Moriba, who was Saidu’s closest friend, begins to sob. Everyone else cries as well, but only for a short while. They then continue on without speaking.
Any time not spent looking for food is time potentially fatally wasted, and the boys do not feel guilty for not having honored his memory longer.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Guilt and Responsibility Theme Icon
Despite their loss, the boys feel surely that in the village they are headed to they will find their families. They even allow themselves to laugh and tease each other. The next night there is an intense storm, but the boys laugh it off. Soon they are so close to the village that they can hear the sounds of town life.
Yet again, the boys find it in themselves to hope and be like boys. Even nature’s capriciousness doesn’t bother them. For once, it seems their hope and hardiness will pay off and they will be reunited with what they’ve lost.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Nature  Theme Icon
At a banana farm, they come across a man whom Beah recognizes from Mogbwemo, Gasemu. He asks them to help carry some bananas to the village and tells Beah that his parents and brothers will be happy to see him. They stop at the top of a hill just above the village to rest before heading down, though Beah wants to sprint ahead.
After months of being denied the people he loves most dearly, Beah feels that he cannot wait another minute to get to them, although he does. There seems to be no harm in taking their time.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
As they are coming down the hill, gunshots ring out, and people begin screaming. Smoke rises above the village. Gasemu tries to stop him, but Beah runs ahead to the village. The entire village is on fire, and in one house, people are being burned alive. Beah tries to let them out, but the woman and child who run who run out burn to death. Beah can hear Gasemu screaming, and runs to where he is to find that the rest of the village has been lined up and shot.
The possibility that his family was alive was all that Beah had left to live for, and that he runs to the village when there is a good chance it is swarming with rebels shows as much. The gruesome deaths he witnesses are further proof of the rebel’s cruelty, and Beah must know already on some level that his family might have suffered similarly.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
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Beah runs around the village, trying to find his family, but the bodies are all too disfigured and burnt to make them out. Gasemu points out the hut where his family had been staying, but it is torched. Beah falls down in shock, gets back up, and runs into the still-burning house to try to find some sign of his family, but there is only ash, and Beah begins to kick at the burning structure and wail. He is dragged away from the house by the other boys.
There seems to be no limit to how horrible Beah’s experience with war can be. To have been so close to being reunited with his family, only to have them burned alive just as he is coming to see them, is hellish, and Beah’s reaction reflects that this particular horror goes beyond injustice into unimaginable cruelty.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Beah is enraged at Gasemu for having them stop at the top of the hill. Beah would have rather made it to the village in time to see his family and have been killed with them than not see them at all. He tries to choke Gasemu, and when he is thrown off, he grabs a pestle and hits Gasemu with it.
Not only does Beah not regard his life as worth living, he would’ve rather suffered the same horrifying fate as his family than not see them at all. Beah has not been violent before, either, but the loss of his family drives him to such despair that he does not care for the well-being of Gasemu
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Guilt and Responsibility Theme Icon
The boys pin Beah to the ground and argue over whether or not it is Gasemu’s fault that they didn’t get to see their families. The boys fight in the ruins of the village, but Gasemu pulls them apart sadly, saying it is no one’s fault. Beah is again enraged by Gasemu’s placidness and insistence that there is no blame to be assigned.
With no one else to turn their rage against over the unfairness of their lives, they turn on each other. Gasemu, even if he is right, has earned Beah’s ire for not getting them to the town fast enough.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Guilt and Responsibility Theme Icon
Ten rebels walk into the village, none of whom are much older than Beah. The boys hide. The rebels are high-fiving one another, and one of them is carrying a severed head. They sit down to smoke marijuana and play cards, bragging about the three villages they slaughtered. One of them remarks proudly that this village in particular was an accomplishment, as no one had escaped. After a few hours of chatting like this, one of the rebels surprises the boys by firing his gun in the air, and when one of the boys jumps in surprise, the rebels notice and come after them.
The casual way the rebels talk about the violence reflect just how used they are to inflicting pain. Their remarks leave no hope for Beah and the other boys of being reunited with their families. The rebels seem like boys in the way that they live in the moment, and yet their interests have been warped from innocent pursuits to a devotion to violence.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
The boys run for hours with Gasemu’s encouragement, which continues to enrage Beah. Beah says that the moon disappeared and made the sky cry, which saved him from the bullets. When they finally stop, Beah is disturbed to hear Gasemu crying. He is wounded badly, bleeding horribly from a wound in his side. Although in great pain, Gasemu shows them the way back to the path before passing away. Beah wonders what dying was like and feels horrible for hitting Gasemu with the pestle.
Beah is angry at Gasemu, as he seems to actually be handling his loss well. Beah is sure that night that the only thing that saves him is the night sky lacking a moon; his reference to the sky crying might be to rain, but it isn’t totally clear. In the end, Beah’s cruelty to Gasemu now makes him feel guilty. He knows Gasemu couldn’t have known the village would be attacked, and that he only meant well.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Guilt and Responsibility Theme Icon
Nature  Theme Icon