Highlight what you believe the author did really well, what you liked about the book, and your own response to the reading. In other words, what did you learn and how were these readings connected to the broader themes on race, gender, class, politics, and sexuality?
With a question such as this one, different approaches can be taken. I would suggest that one of Urrea's most compelling points was to humanize the politicized issue of immigration. Politicians have been able to manipulate the issue of immigration to gin up votes and there has not been a comprehensive, human analysis of the elements that surround immigration policy. In detailing the exact motivations behind why someone, anyone, would trek across "the devil's highway," Urrea illuminates the human condition within the immigration issue. The flawed policy of immigration and the unwillingness for both nations to address the causes such as lack of economic opportunity in villages as well as refusal to invest in the future of people so that they would not be compelled to have to take such unhealthy risks in leaving are topics that Urrea's work addresses. In my mind, this becomes the most compelling point of reference in The Devil's Highway.
In terms of howThe Devil's Highway speaks to the conditions of race, class, gender, politics, and sexuality, Urrea is able to bring out the full force of "the other." "The other" in terms of immigration are the voiceless individuals who live in the shadows. Urrea is able to validate the experience of "the other." In doing so, narratives emerge regarding the immigration debate.The Devil's Highwayis able to explore how there are political and economic interests that cloud the immigration debate, such as how states and businesses benefit from illegal immigration, and how the human trafficking element within immigration goes unchecked. At the same time, Urrea is able to detail the physical difficulty of immigration across "the devil's highway," repudiating the idea that Latinos who come to the United States do so without any implications. It is in this where one sees how issues related to "the other" are validated and authenticated in Urrea's work. Through giving voice to "the other," a more comprehensive view towards immigration is evident. A complex and intricate reality emerges, in contrast to the simplistic political view offered.