The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us

by

Reyna Grande

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The Distance Between Us: Book Two: Chapter 4 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
One evening, Mila makes spaghetti for dinner. Reyna hates spaghetti—it reminds her of the roundworms she, Mago, and Carlos had to get out of their systems when they became infested with the parasites back in Iguala. Reyna refuses to eat Mila’s spaghetti, insisting she isn’t hungry. When Papi calls her ungrateful, Mago tries to explain that the spaghetti reminds Reyna of the worms—Papi responds by calling Reyna “ridiculous.” She begs one last time to eat something else, but Papi picks up the plate of spaghetti and dumps it over Reyna’s head. She screams and screams as her siblings just look at her with pity. 
Papi is insensitive to the unique but deep-seated traumas from which his children are suffering. He is so desperate for control over them that he rejects any attempts at autonomy they make, even when those attempts are based in fear or self-preservation.
Themes
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
Papi retreats to his room with his beer, and while Mago helps Reyna clean up in the bathroom, Mila makes Reyna some scrambled eggs to eat. Reyna cries in the shower, wishing she could go home to Mexico and her sweet grandmother. Reyna cries hardest of all when she thinks of how the Man Behind the Glass—the Papi in the picture frame—would never throw spaghetti on top of her head. The father in this house, Reyna thinks, doesn’t know her—and she doesn’t know him.
Reyna is miserable to realize that she and her father, despite having closed the physical gap between them after so many years apart, are essentially strangers. Even worse, Papi doesn’t seem interested in getting to know what Reyna likes, wants, or needs at all.
Themes
Physical and Emotional Distances Theme Icon
Poverty, Abuse, and Trauma Theme Icon
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