Refugee Questions and Answers
by Alan Gratz

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What are the falling actions in Refugee?

The falling actions in Refugee include Josef's sister, Ruth, being the only member of her family to survive the Nazis, Isabel and her family reaching Miami and getting to start a new life, and Mahmoud's family reaching Germany and receiving asylum.

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Falling action is the part of the story that immediately follows the climax and where the action starts to wrap up before the story reaches its conclusion. There are three different stories told in Refugee, and I would argue that there are therefore three different sets of falling action.

The first story is of Josef, a Jewish boy who winds up on a boat to Cuba with his family after his father served time in a concentration camp. Because his father is so traumatized, Josef ends up having to become the man of the family. It is therefore tragic to the reader that the falling action relates to Josef's younger sister, Ruth, who is the only member of the family to survive.

The second story is about Isabel, a Cuban girl who has to escape the country in a hurry with her family. The falling action takes place when the Fernandez and Castillo families are finally able to reach Miami and stay with a family member until they are able to get on their feet.

Our third protagonist, Mahmoud, and his family must escape Syria after their apartment is bombed. The falling action takes place when Mahmoud and his family eventually reach Germany and receive asylum. The are placed with a host family, with whom they can begin to rebuild their lives.

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