A Long Walk to Water

A Long Walk to Water Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Nya’s family has been coming to the lake for decades, so Nya has gone to the lake for as long as she’s been alive. Nya has also grown familiar with the look of fear on her mother’s face when Nya’s father and brother, Dep, go hunting. Nya’s mother is frightened that Dinka tribesmen will kill her husband and son—but so far, Nya’s family has been lucky, and nobody has died.
Nya’s family lives in a near-constant state of fear and uncertainty. Every day there are new dangers, once again stemming from the scarcity of resources. The constant fighting between different South Sudanese tribes makes the area dangerous.
Themes
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Salva has just woken up to the sound of his own name. He turns and sees his Uncle Jewiir, the brother of his father. Jewiir has fought for the army, and Salva hasn’t seen him in two years. Salva embraces his uncle, and quickly explains to him that he hasn’t seen the rest of his family in a month. Jewiir is quiet and solemn, but then he smiles and tells Salva, “I will look after you.” Jewiir shows Salva the rifle he used in the army—a rifle he intends to use to catch food. Later that day he shoots an antelope and cooks it for Salva and the other people in the group. The meal is delicious, but Salva has been so used to eating nothing that he spends the night vomiting.
Uncle Jewiir becomes something of a father-figure to Salva, since he recognizes that nobody else is going to take care of Salva. Jewiir treats Salva kindly and generously, giving him food and emotional support. Jewiir appears to share his catch with the other refugees, suggesting that Jewiir, by virtue of his gun and his generosity, is becoming the leader of the group.
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Related Quotes
The group proceeds through Atuot land. Salva and Marial walk together with Uncle Jewiir. One day, the group walks for ten hours straight in the hopes of finding a water hole. However, they don’t find water.
The refugees are so desperate for water that they’re willing to wander for an entire day in search of a drink.
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That night, Jewiir wakes Salva up. He says, “I am sorry, Salva. Your friend …”
The chapter ends on another cliffhanger, suggesting that something bad has happened to Marial.
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