A Long Walk To Water

Linda Sue Park

Why I chose this book?

I chose this book because it fits the theme of my personal project:
  • "Take small steps in the right direction"

When picking my personal project topic I came across Sole Hope and was interested. I thought i was so cool how I could do a small action here in America (cutting out templets, raising money, putting together medicine kits...etc) could make such a huge impact in Uganda, half was across the world (job for unemployed, cure tigers in children feet, provide shoes).

Summary of the Book

The book A Long Walk To Water by Linda Sue Park is set up in a very unique way. The format of the book is displayed as two completely different stories with two different characters, Nya and Salva at two different time periods, but both characters are from Southern Sudan. Nya’s story takes place in 2008, Southern Sudan; she “Make[s] daily trips to the pond” to provide clean water for her family “It was very hard work” (64 Park). Slava’s story starts in 1985. Southern Sudan: a war is going on during this time. One day the rebels come to school and Salva is forced out of his village, separated from his family, friends, and he becomes lost. He must travel to Ethiopia to escape from the rebels. Many tragic events take place in his journey, however he joins many different refugee camps where “Everyone was always hungry, and there was never enough food” (85 Park). Both the stories have their own separate paths, but eventually they end up tying in together, giving the book a happy outcome to the stories.

Rhetorical Triangle

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Historical and Cultural Implications

  • Without basic resources and simple necessities a culture can be destroyed.
  • Just because you are classified as one thing do not mean you can be another.
  • Throughout history war threatens life and tests peoples perseverance.

First Rhetorical Strategy: Ethos

Linda Sue Park succeeds in establishing the authority of the two main characters, Salva and Nya, because they each have first hand experience surviving in South Sudan. On an ordinary afternoon Salva's school day is interrupted by "CRACK! POP-POP-CRACK!" and moments later he is "Running as hard as he can into the bush. Away from home" (5). An ordinary day in Nya's life is consumed with a long walk to fill a container with water struggling against "Heat. Time. And thorns." (1).

Second Rhetorical Strategy: Pathos

Linda Sue Park effectively connects to human emotions in the simple telling of Salva's horrific fight from his family and village to escape the rebels. Salva's emotions range from extreme grief to despair to constant fear: "Salva's fear began to grown until it was even stronger than his hunger." (24)

Many, many years later after being in a refuge camp Salva experiences hope. After so many years of grief, despair and fear, in Africa, "Salva blinked away the tears and took his first step into a new life in america." (96).

Third Rhetorical Strategy: Logos

At the end of the book, Linda Sue Park includes A message from Salva which is an appeal to logos. Rather than being negatively affected and living with a scared attitude, Salva wisely advises, "Stay calm when things are hard or not going right with you. You will get through it when you persevere instead of quitting. Quitting leads to much less in life than perseverance and hope." (117).

What surprised you?

It surprised me that both the stories in the book were in two different time periods and had two different plot lines had a lot to do with each other. Towards the end of Salvas story, after being in America for several years, he received contact from Africa. He found out that his father was about to under go surgery, from the unfiltered water in his system. After visiting his father he went back to America and stated raising money for a organization that would provide clean water for places like Africa. Nya's village was in construction for building a clean water source in her village. Not having clean water close by made a huge impact on her life. When they finally got it she wanted to thank the man that made all of that happen. Nya and Salva then met in person.

What assumptions did the author make about you?

I think one of the authors main assumption made about us was that we didn't really know how hard it would have been living through the war. I think thats also one reason why she wrote the book: to show us the a true story of how had it was to survive in a time like that.

What changed, challenged or confirmed what you already know?

The thing that really changed, challenged and confirmed what i really knew is how bad the people in Africa were really struggling and what they had to go through, especially with the wars. I knew somewhat about the wars and that people were killed....But I think hearing the thought someones expresses of being a refugee and all the things he was challenged to was hard to take in. It really made my knowledge bigger of what they had to go through just to get basic necessities in life.

Is the author's rhetorical approach is effective?

Yes, Linda Sue Park really uses ethos, pathos, and logos affectively to make the reader feel a connection to the book and the two stories taking place in it.