The American Nightmare

“Everyone had to do something for themselves” (Herrera, 89).

Two opposing worlds, one of riches and one of poverty.  One of where dreams are of reality, and another in which dreams go to a vast wasteland. Crossing the border is just the beginning of the collision of how these two worlds intertwine.

Makina, on a journey to find her brother, has seen and endured so much from her journey that is barely beginning. She sees the ways in which people who have fled their home country in hopes for something better, are still “[brimming] nostalgia for the land they left or never knew” (Herrera, 66). This quote shows parallelism with our society, for those who have crossed the border to come to the U.S. to plant new roots in a foreign country, are left with the memories of the place they called home. Only having those memories and stories to tell their grandchildren, who are left curious and wandering of the land in which their elders come from.

But one of the main reasons why crossing the border is essential is for them, is that they now have this ability to fulfill the American Dream. Which states that in this land, if you work hard enough – one is able to become anyone they want, anything and everything is just at the grasp of their hands, anyone can prosper. But this isn’t the case, for “whatever once was here had been pulled out by the roots, expelled from this world” for “there was nothing here to begin with” (Herrera, 70).

As Makina noticed, the only reason why her brother was now living there with a new identity was because of the fact that he got paid little service from the ‘white’ family that promised him more. For in their world, there is nothing left for those “who’d run off to save their families and others who’d run off to be saved from them” (Herrera, 79).

In regards to our society those who have traveled here to work must overcome many physical and mental barriers. In the work place, they are not given many options to prosper and succeed, for many of the jobs given to them are in agriculture. In school and society, they are reminded of how they do not belong here, of how they belong back in their home country. But that is not the case, for our country is made up a melting pot with many racial ethnicities.

The book shows how influential this notion of ‘The American Dream’ affects these people’s life and their perception. That in leaving their families and possessions behind, that they can achieve anything here. When in reality, their culture, their entity, their being, are all put to work.

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