A Long Way Gone

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A Long Way Gone Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Two weeks later, Beah is to begin living with his uncle. He says goodbye to his friends and Esther. He will never see any of them again, except for Esther, who he will see once more. Beah is astonished by Esther’s fortitude and her capacity to care for trauma-stricken children, and comments in the book that he loved her, even though he never told her.
Beah’s split with war is a complete one. Just as his childhood was taken from him, here so is his past as a soldier. Beah has a chance to begin again and be a part of a family, even if his memories never leave him.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Beah moves in with his uncle’s family, staying in Allie’s room. He’s given a welcome home feast, with chicken, a rare occasion. He misses Benin Home, but already feels himself adjusting to being around such a happy family. Allie takes him out dancing at a pub, where Beah dances with a girl who approaches him without him having to do anything. The dancing triggers a memory of attacking a town during a school dance.
Beah feels again how difficult it is to have people he cares about pass out of his life, but to be welcomed so openly, and to feel himself fit in so easily is almost uncomfortable for Beah. To have been at war less than a year ago and to now be dancing is something of a shock, and Beah has not fully escaped his past yet.
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 dates the girl briefly, after seeing her at the pub again, but feels he cannot yet be intimate, as sharing his past is a too much for him.
Beah feels he cannot yet share his past with everyone, that he cannot yet face the shame or horror of it.
Themes
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Not long after, Leslie comes to see Beah and tells him that he has an opportunity to interview for the chance to go to New York and speak on behalf of child soldiers at the United Nations. At the interview, Beah finds himself among city boys who dress better and understand modern conveniences, such as elevators. However, he is, as far as he can tell, the only boy there to be interviewed who isn’t from the city and actually has been at war. He comments on this fact during the interview and is chosen to go to the UN. His uncle, half jokingly, doesn’t believe it will actually happen, yet despite the complicated process for getting his passport and visa, they do eventually come through.
Despite the horrible things Beah has seen and done, and the fact that he is unwilling usually to talk to other people about what he has seen, he goes to the interview, understanding it might be his responsibility to advocate for an end to the war.
Themes
Children in War Theme Icon
The Horror of War Theme Icon
Companionship, Hope, and the Self Theme Icon
Guilt and Responsibility Theme Icon
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