"A Long Walk to Water," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-3

March 26, 2014
A harrowing tale of survival, Linda Sue Park's "A Long Walk to Water," based on a true story, is dramatic and stirring. Told as two separate stories, their eventual intersection is an amazing, touching climax.

Learn this word list that focuses on war. Here are links to our lists for the novel: Chapters 1-3, Chapters 4-8, Chapters 9-13, Chapter 14-Notes
When one of them managed to kill a ground squirrel or a rabbit, a guinea hen or a grouse, the boys’ aimless play halted and there was suddenly a lot of work to do.
Salva had his own opinion of how the fire should be built and how long the meat needed to cook, and so did each of the others.
Some of the boys moved at once, ducking their heads and hunching over.
“Go quickly, all of you,” the teacher said, his voice low and urgent. “Into the bush. Do you hear me? Not home. Don’t run home. They will be going into the villages. Stay away from the villages—run into the bush.”
In Latin, "re" means "against" and "bellare" means "to make war." Adjectives that could be used to describe the rebels are "bellicose" ("having a ready disposition to fight") and "belligerent" ("characteristic of one eager to fight").
Salva did not understand much about it, but he knew that rebels from the southern part of Sudan, where he and his family lived, were fighting against the government, which was based in the north.
The fighting was scattered all around southern Sudan, and now the war had come to where Salva lived.
The boys scrambled to their feet. Some of them were crying.
"Sleek" means "having a smooth, gleaming surface reflecting light"--this description and the act of veering don't seem to suggest evil. The simile that compares the jet plane to an evil bird focuses on the similarities between 1) the way they fly; 2) their search for prey to kill. Additionally, a sleek jet plane is not a natural sighting in a dirt-filled village, so this adds to the feeling of evil.
Overhead, a jet plane veered away like a sleek evil bird.
The Latin "tensus" is the past participle of the verb "tendere" which means "to stretch out" (which can also be seen in "extend")--here, the author stretches out the scene and fills the readers with tension by describing how the villagers are tense with fear and uncertainty about the attack, the dark, and what's going to happen next.
At first, everyone stood around uncertainly, speaking in tense whispers or silent with fear.
Their guns were not pointed at the crowd, but even so, the soldiers seemed fierce and watchful.
Some of the rebels then joined the back of the line; now the villagers were surrounded.
The soldiers ordered them to separate into two groups—men in one group, women and children and the elderly in the other.
A soldier approached Salva and raised his gun.
All he could see was the gun’s huge barrel, black and gleaming, as it moved toward his face.
If I die now, I will never see my family again.
Somehow, this thought strengthened him enough to keep him from collapsing in terror.
The village men were forced to carry supplies: guns and mortars, shells, radio equipment.
Salva watched as one man protested that he did not want to go with the rebels. A soldier hit him in the face with the butt of a gun.
Salva tossed restlessly in the itchy hay.
On the far horizon, the sky was hazy from the smoke of the bombs.
No one, it seemed, was sure where Nuer land ended and Dinka land began, so each tribe tried to lay claim to the areas richest in water.
Salva flinched at her glance.
But at least he was not alone now, and that knowledge was stronger than the uncertainty about what the woman might do or say to him.
During the daytime, Salva could hear the distant booming of artillery from the fighting a few miles away.
The antonym of "desperately" is "hopefully" and this can be seen more clearly in the Latin roots: "de" means "reversal" and "sperare" means "to hope" (compare with "despair" in the list for Chapters 9-13).
With every shell that exploded he would think of his family, hoping they were safe, wondering desperately when he would be with them again.
Salva stared at her as panic rose inside him.

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Monday April 11th 2016, 8:07 AM
Comment by: Starkiller23 (NY)
good book
Friday April 22nd 2016, 10:52 AM
Comment by: Kirito_Uchiha_YT (VA)
The book is really good I am on chapter 6 right now.
Wednesday April 27th 2016, 11:21 AM
Comment by: NOAH F. (VA)
coolio doggo
Wednesday April 27th 2016, 11:47 AM
Comment by: Kirito_Uchiha_YT (VA)
I am now on chapter 7 [spoiler alert] he finds his uncle in chapter 6.
Wednesday May 11th 2016, 2:43 PM
Comment by: ALLISON R. (VA)
The book is good.

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