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46 pages 1 hour read

Mindy Mcginnis

Be Not Far from Me

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2020

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Character Analysis

Ashley Hawkins

Ashley, the novel’s protagonist and narrator, has just finished her junior year of high school in a rural Tennessee town. She lives with her dad in a trailer, but her mom left them at an unspecified point during Ashley’s childhood. Ashley had a challenging upbringing. Her dad works hard but doesn’t make much money, so Ashley sometimes has gone without meals. Ashley’s dad would take her on hikes and outdoor adventures since they couldn’t afford organized kids’ activities, and these experiences helped foster Ashley’s love for the outdoors. This passion for nature blossomed when she attended Camp Little Fish, a Christian summer camp. There, she learned survival skills from counselor Davey Beet and came to appreciate nature even more. Among her friends, Ashley is known as the nature expert, and her boyfriend, Duke, shares her love for the outdoors.

McGinnis reveals Ashley’s past through flashbacks. Most of her memories reveal hardships or other situations that taught her lessons. Ashley has experienced several injuries, a brush with death when she almost froze outside the trailer she shares with her father, and several physical altercations with peers. Ashley’s flashbacks, along with her narration and actions in the woods, demonstrate her pride, toughness, and strong will.

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