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.
Compassion and Faith Theme Icon

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.

Related Themes from Other Texts
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Compassion and Faith ThemeTracker

The ThemeTracker below shows where, and to what degree, the theme of Compassion and Faith appears in each chapter of Enrique’s Journey. Click or tap on any chapter to read its Summary & Analysis.
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Compassion and Faith Quotes in Enrique’s Journey

Below you will find the important quotes in Enrique’s Journey related to the theme of Compassion and Faith.
Prologue Quotes

"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?"

Related Characters: Sonia Nazario (speaker)
Page Number: xii
Explanation and Analysis:

"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."

Related Characters: Sonia Nazario (speaker), Enrique
Page Number: xix
Explanation and Analysis:
3. Facing the Beast Quotes

"'No one tells me something can’t be done. Everything can be cured. Nothing is impossible.'"

Related Characters: Olga (speaker)
Page Number: 90
Explanation and Analysis:
4. Gifts and Faith Quotes

"'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.'"

Related Characters: Maria Enriqueta Reyes Marquez (speaker)
Page Number: 119
Explanation and Analysis:
5. On the Border Quotes

"Outside the church after dinner, many migrants engage in a crude kind of street therapy: Who has endured the worst riding the trains?"

Related Characters: Sonia Nazario (speaker)
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis: