What problems did Enrique experience in his mother’s community in the United States? Why did these problems occur?

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Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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The fundamental problem that Enrique experiences in his mother's community in the United States is that it is not his own.  Enrique's journey is complete when he is reunited with his mother, but the question becomes, "Now what?"  Enrique is not able to fully find himself at home in the American community.  He recognizes that he "lives in the shadows."  He can be deported at any time, does not have access to full legal recourse and services, and is constantly aware that because he does not pay any taxes, he must accept what is there.  His work as a painter is not spiritually or emotionally fulfilling, thus he begins to drink.  

Adding to this is a psychological dimension of a "double consciousness."  While Enrique is struggling to make it in America, a part of his being still thinks about Honduras and the life he left and/ or would have been leading there.  Enrique feels fundamentally challenged by his new life in America, and yet after so much sacrifice, this becomes the only life he can really live.  The problems of cultural and psychological displacement becomes a reality for Enrique and millions of others who embrace the immigrant journey for a better life.  This is coupled with the reality that the communities in which they live in the United States feature their own challenges and conditions that add complexity to their being in the world.

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