What is the impact of having two different points of view in A Long Walk to Water?

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Nya and Salva grew up in different times and have radically different experiences, which include their staying in Sudan and moving to the United States, respectively. In addition, gender shaped their childhood experiences. The literal and metaphorical aspects of the title, A Long Walk to Water , convey the differences...

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Nya and Salva grew up in different times and have radically different experiences, which include their staying in Sudan and moving to the United States, respectively. In addition, gender shaped their childhood experiences. The literal and metaphorical aspects of the title, A Long Walk to Water, convey the differences in those experiences but also suggest the point of convergence that comes at the end. Any attempt to merge those differences into a single narrative would have destroyed the importance of each individual story and diminished the author’s point.

For Nya, walking to fetch water from the pond was required of her as a woman's task. The distance from the water shaped her daily experience, because she and other female members of her community spent many hours walking to and from the water source. However, on a figurative level, “water” also represents the necessities for surviving and thriving; the latter includes education, which had become an unattainable luxury for the village girls.

For Salva, the long walk included his journey of escaping from the war and arriving at the refugee camps: he literally walked hundreds of miles. The metaphorical walk was his relocation to and adoption in the United States, which became the “water” by which he survived and thrived. That experience helped teach him the value of necessities such as potable water and of education. The return “walk” took him back to his original country and inspired him to work with communities such as Nya’s to help them obtain those necessities as well.

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