Welcome to the LitCharts study guide on Francisco Cantú's The Line Becomes a River. Created by the original team behind SparkNotes, LitCharts are the world's best literature guides.
The Line Becomes a River: Introduction
The Line Becomes a River: Plot Summary
The Line Becomes a River: Detailed Summary & Analysis
The Line Becomes a River: Themes
The Line Becomes a River: Quotes
The Line Becomes a River: Characters
The Line Becomes a River: Symbols
The Line Becomes a River: Theme Wheel
Brief Biography of Francisco Cantú
Historical Context of The Line Becomes a River
Other Books Related to The Line Becomes a River
- Full Title: The Line Becomes a River
- When Written: 2012–2016
- Where Written: Tucson, Arizona
- When Published: 2018
- Literary Period: Contemporary
- Genre: Creative Nonfiction
- Setting: The borderlands of the American Southwest, specifically Texas and Arizona. Cantú also describes events in various Mexican cities, primarily Ciudad Juárez and Tijuana.
- Climax: After years of finding migrants dead in the desert, or finding them alive and processing them for deportation, Cantú is heartbroken when his friend José is forced to try crossing the desert himself in the summer in order to get from Mexico to his family in the United States.
- Antagonist: The dehumanizing power of United States border enforcement
- Point of View: First Person
Extra Credit for The Line Becomes a River
Controversy. On initial publication, The Line Becomes a River sparked controversy among border activists who felt that Cantú was profiting and building a name for himself on the basis of the suffering he inflicted on migrants as a Border Patrol agent. Cantú welcomed conversations with such opponents and was receptive to their views while maintaining that his book aims to improve the position of migrants by revealing unflinchingly and from the inside the ways in which the system of border enforcement dehumanizes them.
Fact Check. Since publishing The Line Becomes a River, Cantú has worked as, among other things, a consultant to the entertainment industry, ensuring that stories focusing on the border are accurately portrayed.