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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 to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

Created: 02/06/20

Replies: 20

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

Join Date: 10/15/10

Posts: 2143

Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

When Lydia is at the Casa del Migrante, she learns the term cuerpomático --- "human ATM machine" --- and what it means. Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?


Posted Feb. 08, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
PTK

Join Date: 01/11/19

Posts: 4

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

I was not surprised in general. News media have done a good job of describing the rigors and horrors of the journey (and more recently the fate of some illegal immigrants who were deported to their home countries). But, while I was not surprised, I felt that the author really put me in their shoes, making the journey more visceral than I expected.


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

Join Date: 08/30/14

Posts: 180

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

No, I wasn’t surprised by this. I actually thought it would be more dangerous whether the woman was a single female or a mother with a child. I imagined the physical dangers including rape to be more of a problem than was portrayed.


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

Join Date: 03/14/19

Posts: 77

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

I don't think anyone should be surprised that females migrants have a harder time than males. Hasn't that always been the case? I've been reading a number of novels set in WWII. Women there had to face rape along with the other depravities that all captured people endured.


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

Join Date: 08/10/17

Posts: 143

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

No and nobody should be surprised if they pay attention to the news in the past several years.


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

Join Date: 05/31/11

Posts: 166

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

If anyone has been listening to the news the past 10-15 years, you could not have missed hearing how dangerous the migration situation is. Especially for women and girls. The two sisters were lucky to have gotten through at all. Human trafficking is a horrible fact of life.


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

Join Date: 06/19/12

Posts: 265

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

News media have done a good job of emphasizing this point.


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

Join Date: 02/10/20

Posts: 4

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

Not surprised - females escaping a violent country without a male are too vulnerable and susceptible to more violence.


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

Join Date: 02/06/17

Posts: 211

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

No, I was not surprised. I think Cummins did a fantastic job writing about the dangers and making her point without going over the top- - the reality is that travel can be even more dangerous considering cartels control La Bestia. Men and boys are not immune to the dangers either. I don't think that fact is as well known.

I do like how Cummins showed us the multiple dangers: roadblocks, corrupt law enforcement, weather, retribution, fear of injury, not knowing who to trust... Any one of those things would be terrifying, but several of them happening all at once WOW! I imagine that many migrants who make this trip suffer from post traumatic stress the rest of their lives. And to think, so many have made this trip more than one time.


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

Join Date: 07/16/14

Posts: 220

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

Women get raped, people get robbed and beaten or killed when there is an unruly mob of desperate people? Predators from all sides coming at unprotected women, children and old men--nope, the danger is not surprising. What happens in those camps throughout the world when people are moving en masse to escape to other less dangerous places?


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

Join Date: 08/31/18

Posts: 22

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

Unfortunately, this did not surprise me for many of the reasons suggested above.


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

Join Date: 04/26/17

Posts: 98

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

The fact that the dangers are so well known and that so many migrants still feel a need to try speaks to the horrors that many of them are escaping from.


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

Join Date: 01/01/16

Posts: 241

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

I was surprised at so many people against them, and wanting to profit from what little they had to spare. My heart goes out to all of them.


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

Join Date: 04/14/11

Posts: 126

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

I didn't surprise me at all. Female migrants from any country are often abused.


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

Join Date: 04/22/11

Posts: 16

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

Not at all. The danger is very real for the vulnerable of the world and especially women.


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

Join Date: 12/08/17

Posts: 1

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

I was not surprised. I did not think females in particular would go on this journey solo unless it was absolutely necessary - such as the case with Luca and Lydia. The two other young teenage females we meet along the way also had a very good reason for seeking asylum. The overall journey to El Norte, as the characters described the United States, was very dangerous. I could not believe the experiences with La Bestia, in particular. For females taking this trek alone there are so many risks - sexual assault, especially. This book provided me with so much insight.


Posted Feb. 14, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
marks

Join Date: 02/25/19

Posts: 30

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

This was not necessarily surprising to me, but still incredibly disheartening. Reading articles in newspapers or hearing stories on the news about the perils facing females on this journey made me aware of the issue, but Cummins' blunt, direct account of what happens to Soledad and Rebecca were, in a sense, more personal and difficult to read. I guess it's like anything else. Putting a face and a name (albeit a fictional one) to the story helps make it less about statistics and more about people.


Posted Feb. 16, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
Carol Rainer

Join Date: 09/03/15

Posts: 81

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

No - that didn't surprise me at all. If it wasn't so difficult, more people would be doing it.


Posted Feb. 19, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
joannew

Join Date: 07/08/17

Posts: 6

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

I wasn’t surprised but I certainly understand the actual suffering and difficulty much better now


Posted Mar. 06, 2020 Go to Top | Go to bottom | link | alert
gerrieb

Join Date: 09/03/19

Posts: 33

RE: Were you surprised to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

No, I was not surprised. As many have stated the news media have helped shine some light on the atrocities. All over the world and throughout history women have been raped and brutalized and it continues today. In the US women are raped. On college campuses women are encouraged not to walk alone after dark, to carry mace, to call a ride and that isn't isolated to campus life. So why would anyone be surprised? Cummins' does a very good job of humanizing this story. I worried that Rebeca had gotten pregnant from her assault and if she was forced to bear a child of rape. No mention is made of a child in the epilogue and that gave me a minute of peace. When I learned Soledad was pregnant I feared the book would take her into a US Border facility where she would be forced to bear a rapist child even if she wanted to terminate her pregnancy. The suffering they endured and the residual trauma is heart breaking. The way border patrol agents "joked" about maybe keeping Soledad made my stomach clench. Unfortuntely, the way the girls were looked over and "evaluated" is something they may very well continue to face in their new home. Cummins' made these characters so real that my heart continues to ache for them.


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 to learn how dangerous the passage is, and for female migrants in particular?

No I was not surprised. A woman traveling alone is always put at a disadvantage. And in this case they were not just traveling but fleeing - fleeing form the Cartel - which had long reaching arms and knew them and had trageted them. All of this over and above the loss of being able to trust anyone and the inability of women being able to protect themselves in this type of situation.


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