The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us

by

Reyna Grande

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The Distance Between Us: Book Two: Chapter 2 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
The day before Reyna’s first Halloween in the United States, Mila comes home with a Rainbow Brite costume for her. Reyna doesn’t know who Rainbow Brite is—or even what Halloween is—but once she hears that she’ll get free candy, she is on board. The morning of Halloween, Reyna is awakened by the sound of Papi yelling. He is standing over their sofa bed, screaming at Carlos for having had an accident in the night. Papi picks Carlos up and drags him to the bathroom, where he throws him violently into the tub. Papi leaves for work, and Mago and Reyna hurry the crying Carlos out of the freezing tub. The three of them get ready for school, but Reyna does not put on her costume. She feels the excitement of Halloween has vanished.
The excitement of Halloween is ruined by Papi’s angry, abusive ways. Though it should be a happy day, and one on which his children are able to see a fun part of life in El Otro Lado, it brings only misery.
Themes
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
That evening Mila hurries Reyna to get ready for trick-or-treating. Reyna insists she doesn’t want to go. Mila tells Reyna that though what Papi did earlier that morning was wrong, he simply needs some time to readjust to being a full-time father. Mila makes Carlos a ghost costume out of a sheet and allows Mago to wear her old wedding dress from her first marriage. Together, the three hurry out to go trick-or-treating, and as they scurry around the neighborhood, Reyna enjoys herself. She is reminded of Christmas celebrations in Mexico. When she and her siblings get home, they sit and comb through their candy with Papi and Mila, and everything feels warm, happy, and normal. 
By the end of the day, the morning’s traumas are mostly forgotten, and Papi seems to have settled down. Mila begins making excuses for Papi, foreshadowing the ways in which she will enable his cycles of abusive behavior to continue as the book goes on.
Themes
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon