Enrique’s Journey

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Maria Isabel Character Analysis

Maria Isabel is Enrique's girlfriend and the mother of their daughter, Jasmin. She loves Enrique and is devastated when he decides to leave in search of his mother. When she gives birth to Jasmin, she works hard to take care of her and develops a strong attachment to her daughter. She struggles to live in Honduras without Enrique, and finally decides to go and join him in the United States, with the hope of soon making enough money to have Jasmin raised in America.

Maria Isabel Quotes in Enrique’s Journey

The Enrique’s Journey quotes below are all either spoken by Maria Isabel or refer to Maria Isabel. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Random House edition of Enrique’s Journey published in 2007.
7. The Girl Left Behind Quotes

"Maria Isabel does not say goodbye to her daughter. She does not hug her. She gets out of the car and walks briskly into the bus terminal. She does not look back. She never tells her she is going to the United States."

Related Characters: Sonia Nazario (speaker), Maria Isabel, Jasmin
Page Number: 240
Explanation and Analysis:

Maria Isabel is Enrique's girlfriend, and she plans to leave their daughter, Jasmin, to come to the United States--repeating almost exactly the book's opening events. Maria Isabel chooses to leave her daughter because she thinks that she'll stand a better chance of getting to live with her daughter in America later if she goes there alone now. But as the passage shows, Maria's confidence in her plan doesn't make the pain of saying goodbye any less. Rather, Maria can't force herself to say goodbye to her daughter at all: she suppresses her emotions, afraid that if she sees her child one more time, she won't be able to force herself to leave for America after all.

Of course, this passage also mirrors the scene early in the book in which Enrique's mother left Enrique to come to America. The message is clear: abandonment and a flawed immigration system leads to a vicious cycle, in which one fractured family eventually leads to another one down the line.

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Maria Isabel Character Timeline in Enrique’s Journey

The timeline below shows where the character Maria Isabel appears in Enrique’s Journey. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
1. The Boy Left Behind
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Compassion and Faith Theme Icon
Meanwhile, Enrique meets and falls in love with Maria Isabel , who has also endured a difficult childhood separated from her parents. Enrique wants to... (full context)
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Immigration  Theme Icon
Although she is advised to leave Enrique, Maria Isabel persists in their relationship. She also thinks that she may be pregnant with his child.... (full context)
2. Seeking Mercy
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Immigration  Theme Icon
Meanwhile, in Honduras, Maria Isabel worries about Enrique and blames herself for his leaving. She wishes that he will be... (full context)
3. Facing the Beast
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Immigration  Theme Icon
In Honduras, Maria Isabel is convinced by her family members not to go and try to find Enrique. They... (full context)
6. A Dark River, Perhaps a New Life
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Immigration  Theme Icon
Not long after, on a phone call back home, Enrique learns that Maria Isabel is pregnant. On November 2, 2000, she gives birth to their daughter, Katerin Jasmin. Maria... (full context)
7. The Girl Left Behind
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
...He spends his money on women and drink, instead of sending it home to support Maria Isabel and Jasmin. He speaks to Maria Isabel once a week. She lives with Enrique’s family,... (full context)
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Perseverance and Survival Theme Icon
...more than a thousand dollars in court fines. He stops saving much money and calls Maria Isabel less frequently, even though he still tells her that he wants her to join him.... (full context)
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Perseverance and Survival Theme Icon
In Honduras, Maria Isabel decides to move from her house where she lives with Enrique's family and back into... (full context)
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Perseverance and Survival Theme Icon
Immigration  Theme Icon
...and starts to work seven days a week. He hopes to earn enough to bring Maria Isabel to the country next year, and then for the two of them to quickly save... (full context)
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Immigration  Theme Icon
...States to find work, and a recent hurricane has harmed the economy and worsened unemployment, Maria Isabel now cannot imagine going to the United States. She knows that joining Enrique would mean... (full context)
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Immigration  Theme Icon
...away from Honduras for four years and he has not been able to speak to Maria Isabel in four months. However, he has been saving money assiduously, and finally saves enough to... (full context)
Epilogue
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Humanization and Dehumanization  Theme Icon
Immigration  Theme Icon
Smugglers bring Maria Isabel through Mexico by bus, bribing immigration and other officials as necessary. She arrives in Florida... (full context)