A Long Way Gone Questions and Answers
by Ishmael Beah

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What's a summary for chapter 12 of A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah?

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Lizette Eaves eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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After Beah hears gunshots in his village and realizes that his family is now dead, chapter 12 of A Long Way Gone serves to introduce Beah to his new life of a child soldier.

Ishmael Beah explains that after the boys walk for what seems to be days, they run into two government soldiers who have just shot two rebels. The soldiers take the boys into their camp, where they see four dead bodies. Beah is upset by the sight of the bloody bodies still in uniform. The soldiers explain that they will get accustomed to the sight of death and push them on to boats as rebels begin to attack.

The boys arrive in Yele, a town that they had earlier hoped to reach. Yele is now an army base, and Ishmael and his friends feel safe. There they see about thirty orphaned boys who live in unfinished cement houses and help out as needed. At first, Ishmael tries to stay busy in an attempt to not think about his family, but it does not work.

A lieutenant, Jabati, explains to the boys that if they want to stay, they will have to fight, but if they leave or do not fight, they will not be given any food. He explains how violent the rebels are and convinces them of the need to join them, and they begin their training. By the end of his training, Ishmael is assigned his AK-47. The idea of the gun terrifies him, but his training has brainwashed him, and he is ready to fight against the enemy, who he now agrees deserves to die. He has been told over and over that the rebels are who killed his family, and so he now begins to daydream about killing them in revenge.

By the end of the chapter, we see his transformation from child to child soldier.

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Kitty Sharp eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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In Chapter 12 of A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Beah and the friends with whom he has been traveling are taken in from the forest by a group of government soldiers.  They are led to a village which is manned by the government army and told that they must stay in the village or risk being killed by the rebels who lie in wait outside the village.  Beah and his friends accept the food and shelter offered by the villagers, and in return the soldiers order that the boys become part of the army.  They are fitted with clothing and weapons, and they must learn to shoot at targets.  In short, Chapter 12 is the doorway into Beah’s life as a child soldier in Sierra Leone.

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