Theme Comparisons in Water for Elephants and a Long Way Gone

e Shaianth Sathiyanandan
Ms. Kovala
November 16th 2010

Adapting and Self Worth are the Two Main Themes that coincide with the books

Many similarities and differences can be struck when comparing the two books A Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah and Water for Elephants by Sarah Gruen. One is about a young boy that escaped death from his home village, only to be cast into a position where young soldiers taking drugs are common. The other is about a man who had lost everything after the death of his parents, but comes to terms with himself while spending time in the Circus.

Firstly, In the book   Long Way Gone by Ishmael Beah, Ishmael had a loving family whom he loved. Then one fateful day, Ishmael and his brother, were at a nearby village doing a talent show, as their own village was being burnt to the ground. When they arrive in then next village they discover that the Revoloutionary Uniited Front has burnt their home village and were heading their way. They knew that if they went to the government for help they would be enrolled as soldiers. So, Ishmael(now 12 years old), ran with his little brother and friends into the forest to escape. On their way they witness brutal scenes of murder.
Additionally, they find villagers on the way which try to aid the boys but violence always finds them. One time, Ishmael had to run into the bushes alone without looking back for his brother. He never saw him after this. After, more and more encounters his friends started thinning out, until finally he arrives at a village to rest. He gets word that his family had been resting in a village above and over the mountain top. He scales it and looks over the mount with his friends only to find the burning ashes of a village. His family did not survive.
Finally, he gave in and joined the army. During his first battle a close friend of his, had died along side him to a rocket propelled grenade. Enraged he let his gun loose and killed his first man at the age of 11....