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Last Updated on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 402

Rising by Elizabeth Rush is a non-fiction account of climate change and rising sea levels. Rush examines how coastal regions are impacted by a changing climate. As such, there are no distinct characters. A critique provided by The New York Times is that Rush’s writing lacks character. The reviewer writes that she wished Rush’s voice was more present to guide the reader through the narratives. That critique aside, Rush provides many case study examples and interviews to prove her points. I’ve outlined several of these below.

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Dan Kipnis is a survivor of Hurricane Sandy who fled Miami Beach. She says about him and many other survivors, “their dream is gonna drown.” Rush includes the voices of everyday survivors who are all too often left out of the mainstream narratives of climate change. Kipnis is relatable as an “average Joe.”

Chris of Louisiana and Laura in Maine are written as examples of survivors of seal level rise who resist leaving their homes. Laura works with Rush and reports feeling a responsibility to preserving the land for her grandchildren. Chris is from Isle de Jean Charles in the Louisiana Bayou. In the past fifty years this isle has lost 90% of its land mass. Its current residents are indigenous tribal members whose ancestors fled during colonial wars. The community is used to exemplify how marginalized communities are at most risk in the case of sea level rise. Chris’ brother passes away and he leaves his home to take care of his brother’s children.

Dan from Florida is a climate denier who has full faith in technology’s ability to prevent disaster.

Alvin Turner lived in Pensacola for five decades and is the survivor of many hurricanes. He chooses not to get flood insurance and lives in an area that is severely prone to flooding.

Nicole Montalto is from Oakwood Beach on the Eastern shore of Staten Island. She is the daughter of Leonard Montalto who passed away in Hurricane Sandy. Her interview memorializes her father and tells the story of the hurricane. The father and daughter were together in their home prior to the storm. Her father convinced her to leave and she left him in their home. When the family returned Leonard was found deceased in the home.

As shown by the above examples, Rush uses various characters to detail the many different points of view on rising seal levels.

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