Nazario begins Enrique’s Journey by explaining what drew her to find this story. Her own experience talking to her housekeeper inspired her to give voice to the unspoken stories of immigrant families. This is the first moment of compassion in the book. The compassion of others, in addition to Enrique’s own determination, makes his journey successful. Chapter 4 in particular outlines the generosity of strangers and the protection that they provide to migrants along the way.
Enrique also finds compassion and companionship in his fellow migrants atop trains, who look out for each other, share their knowledge, and strive for a sense of community. The characters of great compassion in the book, such as Olga and Pedro Leo, are admirable not only for their dedication to helping others but also for their sacrifices of their own safety and security. They are neither wealthy nor powerful; protecting migrants means risking their lives. In many cases, compassion is also deeply tied to another important theme in Enrique’s Journey – religion – that offers solace to the desperate and faith to those who have every reason to lose it. Religious people are also often the ones who are willing to help migrants, who are selfless in their commitment to doing good. Finally, what unites the family is the characters’ ability to be compassionate to one another’s situations and to have faith against all odds.
Compassion and Faith ThemeTracker
Compassion and Faith Quotes in Enrique’s Journey
"I was stuck by the choice mothers face when they leave their children. How do they make such an impossible decision? Among Latinos, where family is all-important, where for women motherhood is valued far above all else, why are droves of mothers leaving their children? What would I do if I were in their shoes?"
"Then I began to retrace his steps, doing the journey exactly as he had done it a few weeks before. I wanted to see and experience things as he had with the hope of describing them more fully."
"'No one tells me something can’t be done. Everything can be cured. Nothing is impossible.'"
"'We are human. We should treat people in a humane way. It's okay to send people back. But they shouldn't shoot them, beat them this way.'"
"Outside the church after dinner, many migrants engage in a crude kind of street therapy: Who has endured the worst riding the trains?"