The soldiers use electronic equipment to precisely determine a Walker's speed. A Walker clears one warning for every hour that he goes without receiving a new one. The event is run by a character known as "The Major". The Major appears at the beginning of the Walk to encourage the boys and start them on their way, and then occasionally thereafter. While the Walkers initially greet him with awe and respect, they ridicule him in later appearances. There are no stops, rest periods, or established finish line, and the Walk does not pause for any reason including bad weather or darkness ; it ends only when one last Walker is left alive.
According to the rules, the Walkers can obtain aid only from the soldiers, who distribute canteens of water and belts packed with food concentrates apparently similar to the ones developed by NASA 's space program just before the Walk begins. They may request a fresh canteen at any time, and new food supplies are distributed at every morning.
Walkers may bring anything they can carry, including food or additional clothing, but cannot receive aid from bystanders. They are allowed to have bodily contact with onlookers as long as they stay on the road. While they cannot physically interfere with one another to detrimental effect, they can help each other, provided they stay above four miles per hour. It is implied that many past winners have died soon after the Walk, due to its hazardous mental and physical challenges.
The Long Walk is not only a physical trial, but a psychological one, as the Walkers are continually pressed against the idea of death and their own mortality. Furthermore, every step of the way they begin to realize that they are inevitably walking toward their demise. One contestant from past years is described as having actually crawled for a distance of two miles at four miles per hour after suffering cramps in both feet.
Several characters suffer mental breakdowns, one of them killing himself by tearing out his throat, and most characters experience some mental degeneration from the stress and lack of sleep. Garraty's getting by during the walk knowing that he will eventually see his mom and his girlfriend Jan in the crowd. Another Walker, Gary Barkovitch, quickly establishes himself as an external antagonist , as he quickly angers his fellow walkers with multiple taunts of "dancing on their graves".
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This results in the death of a fellow Walker, Rank, who is ticketed after repeatedly trying to assault Barkovitch. Lastly, the most charismatic and mysterious Walker is a boy named Stebbins.
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Throughout the Walk, Stebbins establishes himself as a loner, observing the ground beneath him as he listens to fellow Walkers' complaints, seemingly unaffected by the mental and physical strains. The only character Stebbins truly interacts with is Garraty. Stebbins, however, corrects him: he believes himself to be more of a White Rabbit type. Along the road, the Walkers learn that one of their number, Scramm—initially the heavy odds-on favorite to win the Walk—is married.
When Scramm gets pneumonia, the remaining Walkers agree that the winner will use some of the Prize to take care of his pregnant widow, Cathy. Members of the public interfering with the Walkers can receive an "interference" ticket. This nearly occurs when the mother of a Walker named Percy tries, on several occasions, to get onto the road and find her son at her last attempt, he has already been killed for attempting to sneak away. Only the intervention of the local police keeps her from being executed. The second instance is when a spectator's dog runs across the road in front of the Walkers and is shot.
However, one man is able to throw the Walkers watermelon slices before being hauled away by the police rather than the soldiers; several Walkers receive third warnings after taking the watermelon, but none of them are shot. Garraty becomes closest to McVries, a boy with a prominent facial scar who speculates that his own reason for joining the Walk is a subconscious death wish. When Garraty suffers a short mental breakdown following the death of one of his friends, McVries takes several warnings in order to get him moving again.
By the morning of the fifth day, the Walk has progressed into Massachusetts , the first time in 17 years that it has done so. There are only seven Walkers left. Stebbins states he used to think the Major was unaware of his existence, but it turns out that the Major has numerous illegitimate children nationwide. Four years earlier, the Major took Stebbins to the finish of a Long Walk; now Stebbins feels that the Major has set him up to be "the rabbit", motivating others to walk farther to prolong the race, just as rabbits are used in dog races.
Stebbins' plan, upon winning the Walk, is to ask to be "taken into [his] father's house" as his Prize. Finally, Garraty decides to give up after realizing that Stebbins has shown almost no weaknesses over the duration of the Walk.
Walking benefit: Happiness
Garraty catches up with Stebbins to tell him this, but before he can speak, Stebbins collapses and dies; thus Garraty is declared the winner. Unaware of the celebration going on around him, Garraty gets up from Stebbins' side and keeps on walking, believing the race to still continue, as he hallucinates a dark figure not far ahead that he thinks is another competitor. He ignores a jeep coming toward him in which the Major comes to award him the victory, thinking it is a trespassing vehicle.
When a hand touches his shoulder, Garraty somehow finds the strength to run. In , George A. Just hearing him say it eased the burden and any resentment that may have built up. Never lose sight of the fact that the breakdown of a marriage affects everyone involved — not just you. Support was vital in the early stages, and we were both lucky to have family who picked us up and carried us.
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My sisters would check in on Kristian regularly, and his parents would message to see how I was getting on. There was neither blame nor accusations from either side, and everyone was prepared to help us and the children through the most difficult times.
SparkNotes: The Great Gatsby: Chapter 5
I have spoken to others who have been through separation or divorce, many of whom said those closest to them wanted to show support by pointing fingers. That kind of behaviour makes the vital task of building a good relationship with your former partner much more difficult. If they are unable to do that, gently ask them to take a step back until you are in a more stable place.
Think about which aspects you want lawyers to be involved in.
The Compelling Memoirs You Have To Read
Although we took advantage of a free mediation service run by the Legal Aid Board we live in Ireland, but there will be a service wherever you live , we did a lot of the early negotiating ourselves: living arrangements, care of the children, who got the coveted CD collection. This kept legal costs and interference down. We both knew that if lawyers got involved in the early negotiations it would not only become expensive, but probably more contentious, too. We wanted what was fair. Our starting point was that we wanted the children to be happy and we wanted each other to be happy; we tried to make decisions based on these factors.
The only thing that always seemed to throw us off track was money. I would wake frequently at night, numbers swirling around my head — the moving bills, the double rent, the extra light, heat, car and petrol costs that would need to be paid for out of a very limited and stagnant pool of money. No matter which way I spun them, the numbers never balanced out.
Kristian and I discussed what we could do to improve our financial situation. He offered to take the kids for another night during the week so I could take on extra work. We negotiated until we reached a mid-point agreement that neither of us was entirely happy with. In hindsight, this was probably a good indication that it was pretty fair. Try to work out what you absolutely need legal advice on and what you can sort out between yourselves. The early months of separation are often when things go awry.
Look at the long-term goal.
We placed a good relationship between ourselves above long-term financial security. I might have gained an extra bedroom, but for a lifetime of animosity it was never going to be worth it. In turn, Kristian placed being close to the children above his desire to run home to friends and family.
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