The Devil's Highway

by Luis Alberto Urrea

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Why does Luis Urrea write the last chapter "Home" in "The Devil's Highway"?

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Luis Urrea's award-winning story The Devil's Highway was written, at least in part, to expose some of the tragic realities of the border and immigration policies between the United States and Mexico. This book reveals the story of twenty-six "walkers," men (and a boys) who have specific reasons to come to the United States for a limited time. They want to improve or build homes for their loved ones, pay for their children's educations, and pursue their dreams. Urrea takes great care to ensure that every member of the group known as the Wellton 26, and particularly those who did not survive (known as the Yuma 14), are documented in his book. He uses these individuals to personalize a national tragedy; he even has a chapter called "Names" which details each man's age, loved ones, reasons for going, and even clothing. These men are not just statistics to the author, so it is not surprising that he would write about what happened to them after they were rescued or their bodies were discovered.

"Home" is the final chapter in the book and details the final outcomes for the twenty-six walkers. The deceased who could be identified were flown back to Mexico and hailed as heroes; the survivors (all but Mendez, the human smuggler who is in prison for life) are all given homes and jobs in America--their new home. Urrea wants his readers to know that these are men who had loved ones and hopes, so he makes sure they all go "home" at the end of his book.

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