Ninth Ward

Book By: Jewell Parker Rhodes

Summary

Born with a caul, 12-year-old Lanesha can see and sometimes communicate with spirits. Her and her guardian, former midwife Mama Ya-Ya, have dreams and visions that foretell the future. They're happy, although they are poor. Life in the New Orleans Ninth Ward is suddenly disrupted by news of a powerful storm approaching. Mama Ya-Ya knows it will get bad, but she has no means to get Lanesha out of the city. Knowing she herself will soon die, the young girl and her friend TaShon get through Hurricane Katrina safely. The two children must confront not only the intense storm and Mama Ya-Ya’s death, but rapidly rising flood waters to survive.


Lanesha lives in a tight-knit community in New Orleans’ Ninth Ward. She doesn’t have a fancy house like her uptown family or lots of friends like other kids on her street. Although she does have Mama Ya-Ya, her fiercely loving caretaker. Mama Ya-Ya is able to see in the ways of the world and able to predict the future. When Mama Ya-Ya’s visions show a powerful hurricane, Katrina, fast approaching, it’s up to Lanesha to call upon the hope and strength Mama Ya-Ya has given her to help them both survive the storm.

Protagonist(s)

The protagonists in this story are Lanesha and Mama Ya Ya. Lanesha and Mama Ya Ya are the protagonists because they are the main characters of the story. They are faced with difficulties throughout the story, but they get through them. A character trait for Lanesha is determined. During this story, Lanesha is determined that her & TaShon will survive the hurricane. TaShon is worried about his family and he doesn’t think they’ll survive. Because of Lanesha’s determination, they survive the storm. Even though Mama Ya Ya dies peacefully during the hurricane, Lanesha does not lose her self-confidence. A character trait for Mama Ya Ya is worried. When Mama Ya Ya has visions about a hurricane that will soon be approaching, she is quiet and is not herself. She listens very carefully to the news channel and she ponders the weather forecast very vividly. Another reason that worried describes Mama Ya Ya is because when she is about to die, she worries that something will happen to Lanesha. She tries not to think of it and she knows the spirits will take care of her. Mama Ya Ya is also worried about her community. She is a loving woman and she treats everyone like family. She worries and hopes that everyone will come out of the hurricane alive. Those are some reasons why Mama Ya Ya and Lanesha are the protagonists of the story.

Antagonist(s)

The protagonist in this story is Hurricane Katrina. Hurricane Katrina is the protagonist in this story because it causes conflict for the other characters in this story. A character trait for hurricane Katrina is fierce. This word describes the hurricane because it destroyed thousands of homes and people’s belongings. Next, it killed thousands of people. Many people were not fully prepared, Hurricane Katrina is also fierce because after the main part of the storm was complete, it caused severe flooding. People’s homes were severely damaged, some completely. It was one of the deadliest hurricanes that ever hit the United States.

Jewell Parker Rhodes

Author of "Ninth Ward"

How Does the Setting Affect the Plot

The setting of this story is in 2005, in New Orleans, Louisiana. The setting affects the plot because if the setting was somewhere else, the main action couldn’t have been a hurricane. Also, the characters of the story couldn’t have been able to do certain things. The setting of the story helps find clues about characters and also foreshadows some of the story. The setting also affects the plot because if the setting took place somewhere, the characters’ would have acted different and had different feelings. Those are some ways on how the setting affects the plot.

Genre: Fiction

Point of View

The point of view from which this story is told is by Lanesha, (first person). This is important because if it was told from someone else’s point of view, you wouldn’t be able to know Lanesha’s thoughts and feelings. You also wouldn’t be able to know how her experience was. This is also important because

if the story wasn’t told by first person, the person telling the story might leave out an important event while telling the story. They might even add some things that are not even true.

Book was Published: September 2012

Theme

The theme of this story is never give up. This is the theme of this story because Lanesha wants to give up several times during the story. She thinks she won’t be able to make it through the storm. Several times although, she has to tell herself that she can’t give up. This theme also fits this story because people face problems everyday, but they don’t know how good they have it until something tragic happens. Those are some reasons why the theme “never give up” fits this story.

Point of View

The point of view from which this story is told is by Lanesha, (first person). This is important because if it was told from someone else’s point of view, you wouldn’t be able to know Lanesha’s thoughts and feelings. You also wouldn’t be able to know how her experience was. This is also important because

if the story wasn’t told by first person, the person telling the story might leave out an important event while telling the story. They might even add some things that are not even true.

External Conflict(s)

The main external conflicts in this story are nature vs. character. These conflicts are between the hurricane and all of the characters trying to avoid and get away from it. This is a conflict because the characters are afraid that the huge storm will possibly kill them.


By: Maria Stoller