Prof. Jessica Penner | OL05 | Fall 2020

Jozelyn Santos, The Water Dancer Critique

Plot: Within the beginning of the story, was the author seeing the ghost of his mother? I came to this conclusion because it is clear that she has passed and he describes her as “a dancer wreathed in ghostly blue.”

Characters: Besides the author and the author’s brother, Maynard, being the main characters, I think it is important to note that the spirits that the author spoke about such as his mother, aunt and more are important as well. I believe they are important because these are people who have passed and came to thought when the author was experiencing death and “crossing over” into a new “world.”

-Why didn’t the author fight more the survive? Did the author believe that their was no hope as many lives were lost in this river already?

Point of View: The point of view is clearly the authors perspective of the chain of events happening. It is in First Person and we as readers are able to understand exactly what the author is thinking about. 

Setting and Context: I think the most important settings within this story is the bridge and the river. The bridge is important because the author mentions it symbolizes were many people have fallen into another world, meaning the place they enter after death. The river is important because it is were lives were taken and even the authors life. this is were we understand the author more and the thoughts the author had. 

Voice & Style: I like how the author referred to the world that he was in as “the Quality and the Tasked.” Understanding that he always had to take care of his brother and be his “right arm” makes me as a reader understand that his life was filled with task that were not in the best interest of him. The words of “freedom” and “slavery” are important and powerful words within this story. 

Dialogue: The part when the authors brother was yelling for help and the author replies that he can not save him is a big part I believe, it shows that the author was finally only thinking of himself and his best interests and believed that his brother is the cause for his own demise because he showed no interest in learning how to swim from the author. 


  1. Amna Ahmed

    Hi Jozelyn, I really like what you said about how Hiram’s life will be filled with task. Since Hiram is the slave he will be tasked, but Maynard will have a quality life because he is the master.

  2. Luzmery

    Hi Jozelyn, I really liked your critique and i totally agree with your comment under Dialogue. Just like you mentioned Maynard is the cause of his own demise, I feel that if he had let his brother teach him how to swim, they would probably both be alive. I also liked your description under context and setting, i did not think of those places that way.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *