A Long Walk to Water Chapters 1-2 Summary & Analysis

Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water

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A Long Walk to Water Chapters 1-2 Summary & Analysis

Chapter One Summary

Southern Sudan, 2008

An eleven-year-old girl, Nya, is going to fetch water in the heat of the Sahara. She doesn’t mind carrying the empty container on her head, but the heat is stifling.

Southern Sudan, 1985

Salva, a young man from a successful family from the village, sits in class listening to his teacher teach Arabic—not the language of the tribes but the one of the Sudanese government. Though his body sits at attention, his mind wanders over the road that can be seen through the window. He thinks about the bowl of milk that his mother will give him after school to tide him over until the evening meal. He thinks of guarding his father’s cows and playing with his brothers. He imagines making the clay cows he and his friends and brothers carefully craft in their game of cow “ownership.” They also shoot their bows and arrows, occasionally hitting some game, which the boys enjoy together.

All of a sudden, Salva’s dream is interrupted by gunfire. After the initial gunfire ceases, their teacher tells the children to run for the bush—not to run home because the gunmen would surely be going there. The shots were a result of the revolution—the government, located in the north, wants the entire county to convert to Islam, while the people of the south resist. When Salva runs outside, he sees chaos, some people with guns. Most, like he, are running for the bush.

Chapter Two Summary

Southern Sudan, 2008

Nya, again heading to the well for water, gets a thorn in her foot and must use another one to dislodge it.

Southern Sudan, 1985

With a plane overhead Salva finds himself walking in a very large group of people, many more people than his village contained. Leaders of the group tell everyone to divide themselves by villages. Salva is relieved to see a couple of people he knows, but is concerned that none of his family is present. In the afternoon, soldiers appear with guns. They are rebels, ones who are fighting the Sudanese government. Salva is distressed that his family is not present.

Eventually the soldiers divide the…

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