A Long Way Gone

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A Long Way Gone Chapter 18 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Beah tells Esther one day after five months at the center that he has no family left, and that he thinks he has nothing to be alive for. She says she can be his family. Her laugh reminds him of a girl he used to know in school, and Esther often catches him staring at him.
Esther proves to be able to bring Beah out of even the most depressive funks with her good humor. That Beah has a crush on her—and that this crush is connected to memories of his past—is a good sign, as it suggest both that he is reconnecting to that past and seeing a future for himself.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Visitors from the European Commission come to see Benin Home, and during their visit Beah reads a monologue from Julius Caesar and performs a hip hop play. Mr. Kamara, the director of Benin Home, asks Beah to be the spokesperson for the home in case there is an opportunity to speak out against the use of children as soldiers and in favor of the possibility of child soldiers being rehabilitated. Two weeks later, Beah begins to give presentations about the horror of forcing children to soldiers and the need and possibility for rehabilitating those children, pointing to himself as an example of this possibility.
Beah has come already to be a model of the possibilities for rehabilitation, having regained his interest in the things he loved as a boy, even being able to articulate the difference rehabilitation has made in his life. The once enthusiastic soldier now knows he was brainwashed, and identifies as someone who is proof that the brainwashing can be overcome.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Guilt and Responsibility Theme Icon
Beah learns from Leslie, a staff member at Benin House, that boys at the home can only stay for seven months, after which they have to find a foster home. Beah tells him that he has heard his uncle lives in Freetown, and Leslie promises to do his best to find him. On a Saturday, Leslie brings his uncle to meet Beah. Beah is reticent at first, telling the man he doesn’t even know him. However, his uncle comes every Saturday to visit, and Beah comes to look forward to the visits. Beah is happy, but cautious around his happiness. He and his uncle bond over memories of Beah’s father, though the memories still make Beah sad.
Beah, remarkably, is reunited with family. Although Beah is cautious around the possibility of having a new family, as he has had his hopes dashed so many times before, his uncle is ultimately his best chance at a new life. Beah is even able to enjoy talking about his past with his uncle, even if the pleasant conversation ultimately leads to sadness.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Beah is brought to meet his uncle’s family. He is greeted as a son by his uncle’s wife, and as a brother by his children. Beah will grow close to his cousin, Allie. Beah is happy, but doesn’t show it.
Beah is beginning to feel a part of his family, but is still cautious around the idea of happiness. The last time he was returned to his family, it was only to hear them being murdered.
Themes
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
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