A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah

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In Ishmael Beah's memoir A Long Way Gone, what is the cultural purpose of the wild pigs and the "Bra spider" stories? What other myths and legends can be found in the book?

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It is in chapter 8 of Ishmael Beah's memoir A Long Way Gone that we find the fable about the wild pig hunter. Prior to this chapter, Beah and his friends had escaped their village of Mogbwemo that had been attacked by the rebel army, the Revolutionary United Front (RUF).
They traveled from village to village, not being trusted, until they were finally taken in by villagers in Kamator, where they lived in peace for three months. However, soon, the rebels invaded Kamator, and Beah and Kaloko were separated from the other boys they had escaped with, including Beah's brother Junior and Beah's friends Mohamed and Talloi. Beah and Kaloko hid out in the swamps for a while, frequently returning to the village of Kamator to see if it again looked inhabited and safe. However, Beah became fed up with hiding and decided to set out to find some place safer. However, his friend Kamator was too afraid to leave the relative safety of the swamp outside of Kamator and opted to stay behind. Just prior to the moment Beah relays the fable of the wild boar hunter to his readers, Beah had been roaming the forest for months, sleeping in trees. Once Beah relays the fable, it becomes clear that it serves as a metaphor to capture his country's current culture as his people suffer under the terrorism of the RUF.

Beah relays the fable of the wild pig hunter his grandmother once told him after surviving a narrow escape of being attacked by a herd of wild pigs. He managed to save himself by climbing a tree he was "able to mount in one jump." However, to his surprise, the wild pigs did not move on after his escape. Instead, they began charging and chewing at the bottom of the tree, forcing him to climb "higher and higher." The wild pigs pursued their captive until nightfall; then, finally gave up. It was the wild pigs surprising and relentless pursuit that called to mind the fable his grandmother told him, a fable that parallels the RUF.

The fable tells a tale of a ruthless hunter of...

(The entire section contains 695 words.)

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