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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 agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?

Created: 02/06/20

Replies: 6

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2143

Do you agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?

When they get to the US–Mexican border, Beto says, "This is the whole problem, right? Look at that American flag over there --- you see it? All bright and shiny; it looks brand-new. And then look at ours. It's all busted up and raggedy" (chapter 26, page 273). Later he says, "I mean, those estadounidenses are obsessed with their flag" (chapter 26, page 274). Do you agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?


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

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 180

RE: Do you agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?

Yes. I agree. They symbolize the history of the countries which includes all the cultural myths, stereotypes, and conflict over the centuries.


Posted Feb. 10, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
katherinep

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 220

RE: Do you agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?

Yes, they represent the history/ the core of the people of the country. Their design always has significance and that is always in some way a statement of the values and concerns of the people who designed them and of those who live beneath them. This is why it is such an emotional moment when a flag is desecrated--the ones whose flag it is are angry and sorrowful and the desecrators are vengeful and hateful and relish the pain the act inflicts. Yes, they symbolize much much more


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

Join Date: 10/16/10

Posts: 403

RE: Do you agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?

I think to many people they DO symbolize something more than the country they represent, but I think that varies from person to person. My husband, who served in the Air Force during the Vietnam era, is very offended when he hears about someone burning the US Flag (even though he's generally apolitical and quite liberal), while it doesn't bother me in the slightest.


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

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Do you agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?

In the story it seems like the flags represent the actual countries. The U.S. flag is bright and shiny, a symbol of the wealth and pride of the country. The opposite of the Mexican flag, busted up and raggedy. And if that wasn’t sad enough, the flag pole is shorter than the one for the U.S. flag. I don’t know what else needs to be said.


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

Join Date: 09/14/11

Posts: 55

RE: Do you agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?

Yes, the flags mean more that just the actual country it represents. It means different things to different people.


Posted Feb. 17, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 211

RE: Do you agree with Beto? Do the flags symbolize something more than just the countries they represent?

The history of Mexico is just as incredible as the history of the United States- -maybe even a little more so considering the accomplishments of the Mayans and the Aztecs and what the Spanish found when they conquered the territory and made it their own. A big part of that history is represented on the Mexican flag. I will say that I see more Mexican flags flying in front of homes throughout Guaymas and other places I've traveled in Mexico than I have seen American flags flying on random days in the U.S.. I do believe there is a fierce pride felt by Mexican people for their country and for being Mexican.

It is hard for me to look at the U.S. flag and feel the same way I once did. Maybe my view was naive and idealistic in the first place. I think the whole "America First" and the divisiveness caused by kneeling vs. standing for the flag have left a bad taste in my mouth. I'm really uncomfortable with the idea of linking the flag to support of our military men and women. I am proud and grateful for their service, but still a little disappointed in what it appears, at least to me, the flag represents today. And that is what Cummins demonstrated in her book- -the attitude of "we are bigger, we are prettier, we are better than you". I couldn't imagine living in a Mexican border town. Waking up every morning, thinking that if I was just 10 feet in another direction, I would be bigger, prettier, and better too.


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