Literature Study GuidesA Long Walk To Water

A Long Walk to Water | Study Guide

Linda Sue Park

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Linda Sue Park

Year Published





Historical Fiction

Perspective and Narrator

Each chapter of A Long Walk to Water has two separate story lines told by a third-person limited narrator. The first story line is limited to the perspective of Nya, an 11-year-old girl in 2008. The second is limited to the perspective of Salva, a young boy coming of age in the 1980s during the Sudanese Civil War.


Nya's story takes place in the present tense. Salva's story is told in the past tense.

About the Title

Water symbolizes survival in the stories of both Nya and Salva. Both characters walk long distances, enduring hardships along the way, to survive. Finally, through Salva's leadership, and as a result of the difficulties he has overcome, a new, life-giving source of water is provided for the villagers, who will no longer need to walk a long distance to find water. This story is based on the life of a man named Salva Dut, who came to the United States as one of the Lost Boys of Sudan. Author Linda Sue Park worked with Dut while writing the novel. Salva's fundraising efforts for the people of South Sudan are ongoing today.


This study guide for Linda Sue Park's A Long Walk to Water offers summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

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