|FROM THE LAREDO, TEXAS ONE CITY, ONE BOOK PROGRAM (Written by Beverly Herrera)
From the Statue of Liberty:
Give me your tired, your poor,
Your huddled masses yearning to breathe free,
The wretched refuse of your teeming shore.
Send these, the homeless, tempest-tossed to me
I lift my lamp beside the golden door!
1. Is it more difficult for Lourdes to leave Enrique than Belky? If so, why?
--In what way does his behavior change immediately after Lourdes leaves?
--How does his behavior change throughout the eleven years before he leaves for the U.S.?
--What factors and/or experiences within his Honduran family and environment contribute to his change?
--What does the author mean when she says that for these children, finding their mothers “becomes the quest for the Holy Grail?”
2. Enrique’s journey is also about a family’s journey.
“In these places, residents understand that poor people leave their country out of a deep necessity, not because they want to.”
--Taking into account the above quote and the definitions below of immigrant and refugee where in this story do you see Enrique as an immigrant and/or a refugee? Where in this story is Lourdes an immigrant and/or a refugee?
Immigrant—a person who comes to a country to take up permanent residence.
Refugee—a person forced to emigrate for political reasons.
3. “Thou shalt not be a victim.
Thou shalt not be an oppressor.
But most of all, thou shalt not be a bystander.”
Victim—one who is harmed, killed or made to suffer by another.
Oppressor—one who keeps another down by severe and unjust use of force or authority.
Bystander—a person who is present at an event without participating in the central actions of the event. Bystanders sometimes actively or passively condone or condemn the central actions by their words or actions or, alternately, by their silence or inaction.
In Enrique’s Journey, who are the:
4. In Enrique’s Journey, acts of kindness come in both likely and unlikely places by those we would call heroes/heroines and by those we would never call heroes. Who do you remember? Who stood out for you?
5. Why is this Enrique’s journey and not Belky’s?
--Why doesn’t Belky make the journey?
--What occasion finally brings Belky to the United States?
--Did Belky make the right decision by not migrating to the United States?
--If so, why?
6. Sonia Nazario writes on page 260 that:
“Most immigrants would rather stay in their home countries with their extended families. Who wants to leave home and everything he or she knows for something foreign not knowing if he or she will ever return? Not many. What would ensure that more women can stay home—with their children, where they want to be? Maria Isabel’s mother, Eva, says, simply, “What would it take to keep people from leaving? There would have to be jobs. Jobs that pay Okay. That’s all.”
Is that all?
--What struggles do women and single mothers face on a daily basis in Honduras?
--According to Sonia Nazario, who and what is responsible for the continued migration of women who “choose” to leave their country and come to the United States?
--Do they really have a choice?
They can send money home to feed and educate their children but take the risk of losing their children.
--What choice would you make?
--Where are the fathers?
--What would it be like for you to spend Mother’s Day knowing your son or daughter was riding the rails?
7. A factory in Honduras makes Tommy Hilfiger shirts that pays Eva, Lourdes’ sister, $30.00 a week. At forty hours a week that equals .75 cents an hour. A candy factory pays $2.25 an hour. Gloria Patel in the U.S. charges migrants $3000 promising them legalization and then disappears with their money. El Tirindaro is part of a smuggling network that charges $1200 to bring migrants across the Rio Bravo and into the United States.
--What are their similarities?
8. According to the author, “Children like Enrique dream of finding their mothers and living happily ever after. For weeks, perhaps months, these children and their mothers cling to romanticized notions of how they should feel toward each other. Then reality intrudes.”
Discuss the conflicts that Enrique and Lourdes experience with each other in North Carolina and Florida.
--Is Enrique finally blowing off steam, expressing his resentment toward Lourdes or is he just being a typical teenager fighting for his own independence—coming into his young adulthood?
--How big of a part does Enrique’s addiction to drugs and alcohol play in his struggles with Lourdes and adjusting to the situation in North Carolina and Florida?
--How long does it take Enrique to begin to make positive changes in his life?
--What motivates Enrique to change?
9. After all Enrique has been through, why would he ask Maria Isabel to leave Jasmin and come to the United States without their daughter?
--Did she make the right decision to join Enrique in the United States?
--What will happen to Jasmin?
--Does and will she think of Enrique as her father?
--Will she forget Maria Isabel?
--Will Jasmin end up feeling like Belky?
10. There are so many poignant/moving moments in this story. Discuss what for you was one of the most powerful images in Enrique’s Journey.
Did it bring you happiness, pain, anger or laughter?
|© Copyright 2008 Sonia Nazario|