Enrique’s Journey and Response questions

Many people would be shocked to learn the cruel reality that immigrants face when trying to cross over to America. It also shows how the parent-attachment is vital  for humans to be emotionally healthy and when parents abandon their children to provide resources for them can be detrimental. Many of us are ignorant about immigration policy and reform, even though we are built on a foundation of immigration. Many migrant people resort to doing hazardous or undesirable jobs to be able to provide for their families. In “Enrique’s Journey” we see how social roles depending on different culture plays a large role in the way we develop close family relationships. “Enrique’s Journey” is the cruel reality of people being lured away from their families and homes in the hopes of finding a better, a lot of times it becomes an entrapment. Immigration is a long lengthy process that more often than not leaves people in a state of perpetual transition.

Often we as Americans perpetuate stereotypes of Latino immigrants as drug abusers, as being involved in gangs, and reproducing at a very young age but the immigration process often forces young people to conform to the generalizations.  Enrique’s abandonment of his mother leaves him emotionally unstable as he moves around to different family members homes. He is so distressed at the thought of him mother leaving him because she doesn’t love him he tries eight times to migrate to the U.S. to be reunited with his estranged mother. He finally makes it leaving behind his drug induced life, and his pregnant girlfriend Maria Isabel.

Immigration through this novel is shown as the idea of trials and tribulations in order to have a rewarding future as soon as America is reached. Most times it leaves most people recovering from disillusionment. Both Enrique and Lourdes believed that their reunion would help mend their feelings and provide them with a fresh start. They realize that the abandonment and the ethics of whether keeping yourself and your children is more important for their mental health than moving away to provide. They are both tormented by what they believe the other needs and should provide to them. Unfortunately we learn through this book the cycle of abandonment, immigration, and the separation of family is a cycle. When Enrique finally sends for Maria Isabel their child is left with family in thus we must question whether the patterns and stereotypes will follow.

I think “Enrique’s Journey” was successful in educating those who may have been ignorant about immigration. It is a detailed account that taps into human relatability. I think the way that Sonia Nazario presents the protagonist as a lost young adult in pursuit of a mother he has never known in a land that won’t accept him. The elaboration of the dangerous journey to cross the border is never really talked about in depth. Most people do not know that young children and adults are beaten, raped, robbed, and deported causing stress and a heavy burden on finding ways to survive.

Nazario directs the audience in my opinion to fairly stable legal residents by showing the relationship of a legal resident listening and relaying the tale of a boy traveling to the states. It also forces readers to feel and to contemplate the impossible choices mothers and fathers are given when trying to protect their children. I think she also directs the story to immigrants who have shared similar experience of trying over and over again to arrive in the states. This story reaches many people because it is not limited to interpretation by solely one group.

By using themes that question the morality of man Nazario creates a book that challenges its readers to become aware of the deeply destructive world around them. She also uses irony in the sense that she leads readers to believe that Enrique will break the cycle of abandoning his family and yet his daughter Jasmin is left with his sister. I think at this point Enrique is beginning to understand that it could be better for his child if he sends money and leaves her with people who can take care of her where not everyone and everything is against them. This makes the reader question yet again what is considered to be morally right when concerning immigration and the breakage of family. Readers are left with the decision to try to figure out what is right or wrong and how they would handle a situation like that.


  • Does the author have family or friends that have first hand experience about the burden and dangers of migration? What did they think about America once they arrived?


  • How is migration treated in different cities and states are people more likely to immigrate to one place rather than the other?


  • Are we perpetuating stereotypes that forces and molds adults and immigrants into having no other option than fulfilling them.


  • What is the statistics of mothers who immigrated alone to America to make money to send to their families?
  • What would you do if you were facing that situation?
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