A Long Walk to Water Major Character Analysis

Linda Sue Park

A Long Walk to Water

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A Long Walk to Water Major Character Analysis


Salva’s story is the center of the plot. It is he who wanders hundreds of miles through countless obstacles to finally make it to Rochester, New York. He is known as one of the “Lost Boys” from Sudan so-called because of how they wandered seemingly endlessly to escape the war. He begins his travels in his adolescence and to age twenty-two when a family in Rochester, New York takes him in.

Salva’s greatest character strength is his willingness to be patient. Salva is also determined. He never gives up on finding his family, even when his uncle tells him they are most likely dead. His patience is rewarded in many ways. He is able to make it through the desert even when his toe is in great pain, and he finally reunites with his father and then the rest of his family. He also is true to his people. We see this when he works very hard to acquire the money to build wells for not only his tribe but for enemy tribes as well.


Though Nya’s part in the story is less involved than that of Salva, it shows the misery of the South Sudanese people, particularly in getting fresh, potable water. The reader can imagine the experience of the young girl walking long distances with a jug on her head several times daily. Her character also allows the reader to see her get dangerous water from a mud-filled lake. Her most important role is bringing the story full-circle when she realizes that a Dinka, a traditional enemy, brings a source of plentiful, fresh water to her village.

Uncle Jewiir

Salva’s Uncle Jewiir is the third most important character in the novel. A member of the rebel army, he is respected by his group as a leader and he meets that expectation splendidly. When Marial is killed and taken away by the lion, he begins to stand watch over sleeping members of the group at night. The walking during the day is grueling, so keeping guard in the night and walking by day must be exhausting. He serves as a…

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