A Long Way Gone

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A Long Way Gone Characters

Ishmael Beah

The author and subject of the memoir. Beah is a writer based in New York City who at the age of twelve was orphaned by the civil war in Sierra Leone. At first just a… (read full character analysis)

Junior

Beah’s brother, who accompanies Beah for the first part of his journey. Although Beah and Junior were once close, the terrible things they see makes it difficult for each to support, or even talk… (read full character analysis)

Esther

The nurse responsible for Beah’s rehabilitation. She is kind but persistent, and the only one to get Beah to believe her when she says “it is not your fault.” She takes a special interest… (read full character analysis)

Beah’s Uncle

Beah’s father’s brother. Despite Beah’s horrifying and taboo past as a child soldier, his uncle welcomes Beah into his family after Beah has been rehabilitated, calling him son. His kindness is quite foreign… (read full character analysis)

Laura Simms

A workshop leader at the United Nations for former child soldiers who coaches them on the telling their stories. When Beah comes to the UN to make a speech about child soldiers, he meets and… (read full character analysis)
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Minor Characters
Lieutenant Jabati
The de facto leader of the town of Yele, Jabati is militant and coerces the boys into fighting for the government and against the rebels. Although he mentors the boys, it is in violence, cruelty and revenge. He effectively brainwashes the boys to become brutal, drugged child killers.
Beah’s Mother
A tender and kind woman, she is divorced from Beah’s father.
Beah’s Father
Beah has a difficult relationship with his father, who has divorced his mother. Beah and his father are often not on speaking terms.
Beah’s Younger Brother
Beah’s younger brother looks remarkably like him.
Beah’s Grandmother
Beah’s grandmother lives a day’s walk from Mogbwemo, Beah’s hometown.
Talloi
A boy from Mogbwemo, he is a part of Beah’s first group on the run from the rebels.
Khalilou
A boy from Mattru Jong, he is a part of Beah’s first group on the run from the rebels.
Gibrilla
A boy from Mattru Jong, he is a part of Beah’s first group on the run from the rebels. He breaks the bad news to Beah about Mogbwemo.
Kaloko
A boy from Mattru Jong, he is a part of Beah’s first group on the run from the rebels. Beah and Kaloko disagree about whether they should flee as far as possible from the war, with Kaloko arguing they are only putting themselves in more danger by fleeing.
Saidu
A part of the second group of boys Beah travels with, Saidu has a dark disposition.
Jumah
A part of the second group of boys Beah travels with, Jumah eventually becomes a child soldier, although he ends up in a different squad from Beah.
Moriba
Saidu’s best friend, and a part of the second group of boys Beah travels with. Moriba eventually becomes a child soldier.
Alhaji
A part of the second group of boys Beah travels with, he has the most camaraderie with Beah once they become child soldiers. He is rehabilitated with Beah.
Kanei
A part of the second group of boys Beah travels with, Kanei becomes a child soldier, but is not chosen to be rehabilitated.
Gasemu
A man from Mogbwemo who leads Beah and his friends to the village where they are supposed to be reunited with their parents, only to find that village being attacked just as they arrive.
Corporal Gadafi
An officer in Beah’s squad, Gadafi teaches the boys the basics of army life.
Sheiku
A boy even younger than Beah whom he meets in Yele, Sheiku is enlisted to fight in the army. He can barely lift his gun.
Musa
A part of the second group of boys Beah travels with. Musa becomes a child soldier and is killed in battle.
Josiah
A boy even younger than Beah who he meets in Yele, Josiah is enlisted to fight in the army. He dies in the army.
Lansana
Another boy enlisted in the army in Yele, Lansana’s humming keeps the already insomnia-plagued Beah up at night.
Mambu
A rebel boy Beah meets in rehabilitation, Mambu is just as violent and brainwashed as the other boys, and takes a perverse joy in his violence.
Esther
The nurse responsible for Beah’s rehabilitation. She takes a special interest in Beah and is the first person he tells about the horrible things he’s done and seen.
Leslie
Another member of the staff at the rehabilitation center, Leslie gets Beah on his feet once his time is up there, helping him to find his uncle.
Mr. Kamara
The director of Benin Home, the rehabilitation center. He eventually asks Beah to act as a spokesman for the center, and for the possibility of rehabilitating child soldiers.
Allie
Beah’s cousin. Beah quickly becomes close to him, and Allie takes Beah out dancing after he settles with his uncle in Freetown.
Mohamed
Beah’s best friend from childhood, he is left behind in Mogbwemo, but survives the two reunite in Freetown and begin attending school together.
Bah
Besides Beah, Bah is the other representative of Sierra Leone at the United Nations.
Dr. Tamba
The man who accompanies Beah and Bah to the United Nations.