“The American Dream” is some idea that is tied to The United States. This is the land of opportunity. in this land, anyone can enjoy prosperity and the pursuit of happiness. It is particularly tied to one cause for immigration. Immigrants cross over to America (North), some legally and some illegally, seeking opportunities to better their life and live the American Dream. But, is the American Dream reality or is it really just a Dream? Are there enough opportunities to go around?
Henriquez gave some perspectives from multiple people from different families who were seeking that Dream. The Rivera family move to Delaware with their visas. They’re seeking something better for Maribel, who was in a traumatic accident. They send her to a school You have the father, Arturo, who has thirty days to get a job and is the only one allowed to work. Then the mother, Alma, who is learning English. Then you have the Toro family. There is the hot- head father, Rafael. The mother is Celia. Then the all star Enrique and Mayor. I believe she uses the different perspectives and constant character point of view changes to give readers a better understanding. That understanding is something that readers could either relate to or better see how different families with different circumstances could have the same situations. Both families came seeking the pursuit of happiness. But throughout the novel, you see both families struggle with the prosperity and the happiness part. Arturo loses his job and has the language barrier. Alma is heavily home-sick. Maribel is bullied and teased. Fairly quickly, the Dream turned into a nightmare. Instead of prosperity and happiness, they were met with struggle and uncertainty. You even see that struggle within family itself. Mayor longs for Maribel’s love and making her days perfect. He struggles to fit in and to become noticed from under Enrique. And the Riveras met an unfortunate struggle when Arturo dies.
Longing was a theme that stood out in this novel. Both families longed for something different and better. Longing makes hope. But Henriquez allowed the character’s longing cause pain and then happiness. I think throughout the novel, every character had to learn to dream differently. They learned the American Dream was another plan in disguise.