Into the Beautiful North

by

Luis Alberto Urrea

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Into the Beautiful North: Chapter 26 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Nayeli sinks into the water of the pool, thinking that nobody knows she's here. She feels like she lost Yolo, Matt, and Vampi, and she wonders if she'll lose Irma now that Chava is in the picture. Nayeli understands that she's being demoted since Irma is here, and she decides that the only thing to do is for her and Tacho to go to Kankakee, Illinois.
It is telling that Nayeli decides that Tacho must be the one to accompany her on the trip to Illinois. Tacho is her only companion who is fully disillusioned with the US, suggesting that Nayeli is beginning to feel the same way.
Themes
Disillusionment and Idealization Theme Icon
Male vs. Female Heroism Theme Icon
Female Friendship vs. Romance Theme Icon
The next day, Nayeli, Tacho, Vampi, and Yolo walk into the hotel where Irma is staying. Irma greets them in the lobby with kisses, though she slaps Tacho. She notices Atómiko and El Brujo outside and asks what they are, and before Nayeli can respond, Irma mutters about drug addicts, grabs a cigarette, and goes outside. She demands the boys' names and calls them degenerates. Angel politely says that he's not a degenerate. Irma looks Angel over, insists that Angel is a pimp name, and asks if he's started puberty yet. She turns to El Brujo, who introduces himself as Alex and "Vampi's man." Irma laughs and asks if both he and Vampi will dye their hair purple for the wedding. Atómiko's slang is too much for Irma. She heads back inside.
By using the word "what" instead of "who," Irma dehumanizes Atómiko and El Brujo and shows how little she thinks of men in general. Instead of being grateful to the men for their willingness to help the girls with their quest to repopulate and protect Tres Camarones, Irma is rude and critical. It seems that Irma is looking for versions of men that don’t actually exist in real life, pointing back to the way that the movie The Magnificent Seven was the sole reason this quest began in the first place.
Themes
Racism Theme Icon
Disillusionment and Idealization Theme Icon
Male vs. Female Heroism Theme Icon
A bit later, Nayeli knocks on Chava's door. He refuses to answer and asks if "she" is with Nayeli. Nayeli says that "she" sent her, and finally, Chava opens the door. He's wearing pajamas and is unshaven. Nayeli tells him to shower and shave while she waits. Chava complies, and then Nayeli tells him that he must help Irma recruit the rest of the men, as Nayeli must leave to find her father. Nayeli hands him Irma's hotel information and insists he must go. Chava gives her cash and a gas card.
Chava seems terrified at the possibility of coming face to face with Irma. Given that Irma so wholly terrifies one of the seven men who will, in theory, protect Tres Camarones, the novel implies that the women of Tres Camarones don't need men after all.
Themes
Disillusionment and Idealization Theme Icon
Male vs. Female Heroism Theme Icon
Back at the hotel, Irma is incensed: Vampi promised El Brujo control of the cinema one night per week, and Angel wants a mechanic's shop. She rents a conference room to conduct interviews for the remaining four slots, thinking that romance is no way to run a government operation. She finds she likes Atómiko and thinks he'd be a policeman if she could convince him to come to Tres Camarones. Though Irma thinks Nayeli’s trip to find her dad is foolish, Irma gives Nayeli a debit card and tells her that men, Don Pepe included, are no good.
Irma is derisive about Nayeli’s desire to find her father, which suggests yet again that Irma knows something about Don Pepe that Nayeli doesn't. In addition, Irma’s assertion that all men are bad—including Nayeli’s father—once again shows that Irma is sexist and thinks very little of men in general.
Themes
Disillusionment and Idealization Theme Icon
Male vs. Female Heroism Theme Icon
Related Quotes
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Matt spreads out his road atlas and helps Tacho and Nayeli plan their route. Yolo watches and openly admires Matt, and Nayeli sneers at her. Tacho and Nayeli plan on going through Vegas, up to Colorado, and then east to Illinois.
It seems that Matt is completely oblivious to the way he hurt Nayeli by sleeping with Yolo. Meanwhile, Yolo and Nayeli’s nonverbal interactions in this passage show that the girls’ relationship is unraveling.
Themes
Male vs. Female Heroism Theme Icon
Female Friendship vs. Romance Theme Icon