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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:
Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?

Created: 02/06/20

Replies: 7

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2143

Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?

When Lydia, Luca, Soledad and Rebeca are at the Casa del Migrante, the priest warns them to turn back. Were you surprised that he would be issuing such a dire warning when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?


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

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 77

RE: Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?

Those of us born in the US should be grateful every day! I have friends who came here from Turkey to escape oppression there. They cannot return home to see families. Some families can come here for limited visits. Other members of their families are in prison for being "enemies of the state." Their crime is being educated and desiring a democracy. To leave one's homeland, one must have good reason---a desire for a better life or a life at all would certainly top the list.


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

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 180

RE: Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?

No, I think the priest wanted to spare them from what he did know about what lay ahead for them traveling through Mexico to the United States. If I had to endure a situation like Lydia’s, I might consider leaving the United States


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

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?

Not a surprise as a part of the story but realistically, I think anyone would really know that only desperation could send a person on a trip like this. I don’t know what situation would make me leave but I guess it would have to be a political situation worse than it already is. I have lived outside the country and I know what luxuries we have in everyday life here.


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

Join Date: 03/15/13

Posts: 36

RE: Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?

I wasn't totally surprised about the warning.The migrants were very desperate to escape their situations but I think it served as a reminder that the route to freedom would still be a very dangerous journey and they needed to step back and think about the realities of what they would face as they continued north. I feel very fortunate to live in a country where my life is free of the oppression that so many others have faced. Leaving a place of oppression calls for strength, endurance, and strong desire to seek a better life. For me, certainly a threat to my life or the lives of my family, or a belief that I absolutely had no other choice, would most likely be my reasons for leaving.


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

Join Date: 02/12/20

Posts: 1

RE: Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?

No, I thought it was in character for a priest. I think that he knew how hard the journey would be, that they may not survive it & would the journey be worth the loss of their lives or the lives of their loved ones.


Posted Feb. 13, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
acstrine

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 211

RE: Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave?

I think the narratives we hear over and over have created a misconception that many migrants are encouraged to leave their their homes and circumstances to go to the United States. This scene showed me something different. Rather than a rousing, motivational speech, the priest really wanted those attempting the journey to think of their alternatives.

I wonder if it is possible that many migrants aren't actually aware of the multitude of dangers they will face. How regularly do they hear from friends and family who have gone before them? Even though they were living in the same small country, Soledad and Rebecca rarely heard from their own father. They didn't necessarily know of the horrible dangers of the city where he was working. How many have cell phones to touch base with one another en route? I wonder if family members would even be truthful. For example, had Soledad and Rebecca been able to talk with their father, I don't think they would have told him about the kidnapping, jumping on and off the trains, or the physical attacks. Is there access to news stories via TV or newspaper? Are journalists along the route publishing stories about the danger, or are they bullied by cartels to suppress this information? I think the priest wanted to be certain they all really, truly understood what they would be up against.

Lydia's situation was completely different from many of the people she met along the way, in that she did have, at one point, a secure, middle class life. Maybe it is easier to leave if you have very little or nothing to begin with. How could it possibly get worse, right?


Posted Mar. 25, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
taking.mytime's Gravatar
taking.mytime

Join Date: 03/29/16

Posts: 169

RE: Were you surprised that the priest issued a warning to turn back when he must know how desperate they are to be there in the first place? Under what conditions might you decide to leave your homeland?

To protect my children.


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