Enrique’s Journey


Sonia Nazario

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Themes and Colors
Family and Abandonment Theme Icon
Perseverance and Survival Theme Icon
Compassion and Faith Theme Icon
Humanization and Dehumanization Theme Icon
Immigration Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in Enrique’s Journey, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.

Family and Abandonment

Enrique’s Journey, as its title indicates, is the non-fiction story of a 17-year-old boy’s struggle to travel across Mexico to the United States to reunite with his mother. The events depicted in the book are set in motion by an initial instance of abandonment: Lourdes’ difficult decision to leave Enrique and his sister Belky in Honduras, while she seeks work in the United States to send money back to her family. Leaving her children…

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Perseverance and Survival

Much of Enrique’s journey is about overcoming impossible obstacles, confronting extreme danger, and making it out alive. At 17, Enrique succeeds in traveling from Honduras through 13 of Mexico’s most violent states and crossing the border into the U.S. in large part due to his determination. Of course, he is lucky too – benefiting from the help of others and gaining knowledge from experienced peers. He gives himself a time limit that shows his perseverance…

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Compassion and Faith

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…

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Humanization and Dehumanization

While Enrique’s Journey features stories of worthy people who express care and compassion for the human needs of migrants, the book also does not shy away from describing the dehumanizing circumstances that Enrique and others must confront. Nazario’s interest in finding a single story to illuminate the debate surrounding immigration policy in recent decades shows her commitment to humanizing immigration studies. In the prologue, she discusses her reconstruction of Enrique’s journey in order to give…

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Enrique’s story opens up the broader discussion of immigration and immigration reform in the United States and allows for a detailed understanding of the problems that immigrants face. In the prologue, Nazario recounts the conversation she had with her housekeeper Carmen when she first found out that Carmen had left behind children in Guatemala before coming the United States. This moment spurs Nazario’s interest in single immigrant mothers in comparable situations, forced to leave their…

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