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Stepping Out Of The Shadows Essay

1689 words - 7 pages

Stepping Out of the ShadowsThe Pew Research Center Hispanic Trends Project reported last year that there were a staggering 6.05 million undocumented Mexican immigrants in the United States of America: a number I find extremely hard to encompass . What comes to my mind are families constantly living in fear of being discovered and deported, not being able to get health support, not being able to visit their relatives back home in Mexico, and children who will have a lot of their dreams crushed once they come to the realization that they are effectively invisible to American society. In her heartwarming and heartbreaking book The Distance Between Us, Reyna Grande shares with us her story about growing up not only torn between two parents, but also two countries, her old and new home, after illegally running across the border with her father and siblings at the age of nine. With the DREAM Act being widely discussed, I wish more people would pick up her book and see the human face of the illegal immigrants and listen to their stories before passing judgement. The Distance Between Us is an engaging counterstory about these undocumented Mexican immigrants. It also serves as a wonderful example of change writing, as defined by psychologist and author Mary Pipher in her book Writing to Change the World as "writing to connect" (p. 8).Pipher's idea of change writing is that the author builds a connection that leads to the reader's awareness of an issue growing, and even to a change in the reader's opinion (p. 8). After researching how her book was received, I can confirm that Reyne Grande certainly accomplished this. Many readers recognized themselves in her story, were deeply moved and given an insight into a life they didn't know much about. In an interview with the Los Angeles Review of Books magazine Grande talked about her motivation behind the book, explaining that one of her goals was to reveal more about the life of immigrants and how complicated a situation it is for these families to be in, how many struggles they endure and sacrifices they make in their journey toward what they hope will be a better life. Mary Pipher believes that writers can move and affect their readers most effectively by writing about their own experiences and about what made them write in the first place (p. 103). When we share our personal stories, we are automatically at our most engaging and honest and we invite the reader to struggle with us (p. 23). Grande has done what Pipher urges us to do; she writes about her own life and shares the most important stories that made her who she is today (Pipher, p 64 / Los Angeles Review of Books magazine) . She describes to the reader the heartbreaking moments when her parents left her and her siblings behind, how she over and over again was reunited with her mother only to be left behind again and how she was always remembering her father as the "man behind the glass" (p. 58). How can someone not be moved by the struggles this...

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