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American Dirt


"American Dirt is a Grapes of Wrath for our times."
—Don Winslow
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Discuss American Dirt by Jeanine Cummins:
Do you think Lydia is better or worse off for not having known about the moment of her boundary crossing? What importance do rituals have in marking milestones in our lives?

Created: 02/06/20

Replies: 4

Posted Feb. 06, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
davinamw

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2204

Do you think Lydia is better or worse off for not having known about the moment of her boundary crossing? What importance do rituals have in marking milestones in our lives?

"But the moment of the crossing has already passed, and she didn't even realize it had happened. She never looked back, never committed any small act of ceremony to help launch her into the new life on the other side. Nothing can be undone. Adelante" (chapter 30, page 323). Do you think Lydia is better or worse off for not having known about the moment of her boundary crossing? What importance do rituals have in marking milestones in our lives? Can the done be undone, the past rewound?


Posted Feb. 09, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
melanieb

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 203

RE: Do you think Lydia is better or worse off for not having known about the moment of her boundary crossing? What importance do rituals have in marking milestones in our lives?

I think she is better off for not having known because she hadn’t been able to observe any rituals since leaving her home at the time her family was killed. She had no funerals, no memorial services, nothing to commemorate loss in her life so at the moment she’s losing her country to gain a new one, it’s in keeping with the storyline that she doesn’t observe this moment either.


Posted Feb. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
cathyoc

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 98

RE: Do you think Lydia is better or worse off for not having known about the moment of her boundary crossing? What importance do rituals have in marking milestones in our lives?

I think the fact that the border crossing went unnoticed is a comment on the arbitrary nature of borders to begin with.


Posted Feb. 11, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 225

RE: Do you think Lydia is better or worse off for not having known about the moment of her boundary crossing? What importance do rituals have in marking milestones in our lives?

I am that person who always honks my horn once I've crossed into a new state on a road trip. haha It is a moment of celebration for me and marks the beginning of some new or different adventure. But interestingly, I never look in the rearview mirror to see what I've left behind...

Lydia had already let go of so many rituals (or normalcies) in her life. Her journey was not one she wanted to be making in the first place. What did she really have to celebrate at this point? I think she was still in a state of shock and panic. If she had stopped, looked back and really thought about everything she had left behind in Mexico, Lydia might not have had the strength to continue or doubt the decision she had made. El Chacal always knew exactly where it was and never said a word. Maybe he wanted to preserve the same sense of urgency the group had from the start. Maybe he knew that merely crossing the border wasn't the same as completing the journey.


Posted Feb. 12, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
peggyt

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Do you think Lydia is better or worse off for not having known about the moment of her boundary crossing? What importance do rituals have in marking milestones in our lives?

I think the ritual of visiting the rocks in the yard that were commemorative of the people who died was a more important ritual than if she had really noted the moment of passing across the border. That was a ritual with meaning.


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