In the novel A Long Walk to Water, Salva plays a significant role to the reader in several different contexts. This novel is unique in the sense that it tells the stories of one fictional character and one real person. Salva is the main character, and his story is one of a young Sudanese boy who overcomes tragedy to save thousands of lives through his courage and charity.
Salva's Influential Role
As the main character, Salva's influential role in the story is made clear to the reader from the beginning. After he is separated from his family at the age of 11, Salva is forced to travel a long distance on foot in order to escape other gunmen. Without food or water, he struggles to survive in a harsh environment while helping others. Salva's influence becomes apparent when he takes on a leadership role among other lost boys of Sudan. He leads the group to safety at a refugee camp and is taken to America seven years later. While in America, Salva uses the influence he gained from telling his story and his act of heroism to start a charity called Water for South Sudan.
Salva's Moral Role
Salva is a strong moral character, and his story gives the reader insight into the complex moral issues that caused the conflict in Sudan. Even while struggling to survive in a country torn apart by the Second Sudanese Civil War, Salva demonstrates great moral courage. His voice as a character is strong and compelling, helping the reader understand each decision he makes throughout the story. By the conclusion of A Long Walk to Water, the reader understands the moral importance of investing in charities such as Water for South Sudan.
In addition to his role as an ambassador for the Sudanese water crisis, Salva also helps the reader understand the complex nature of the Sudanese civil war. Salva makes a strong moral argument against the violence that characterized much of his childhood in Sudan and separated him from his family. He also serves as a moral exemplar by caring for the other lost boys of Sudan despite his own fears and all he has suffered.
Salva's Role in Relation to Nya
Throughout A Long Walk to Water, Salva is a strong, influential, and moral character. His true story is engaging and told in a manner that makes it easy or the reader to relate to his emotions and motivations. Nya's fictional account is a poignant complement to his journey, as it carries the moral themes of Salva's story through to the present-day life of a young girl in a Sudanese village. Both stories combine to support Salva's message of compassion, bravery, and the importance of access to clean water as a basic human right.