Themes

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Last Updated on August 5, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 540

The Distance Between Us: A Memoir is a 2012 autobiographical novel written by Reyna Grande. It tells the story of the day-to-day struggles of a young Mexican girl born in poverty who escapes to the USA in order to find a better life. The girl is the author herself and through a plethora of realistic and hunting images from her past, she manages to convey an important massage: Never stop dreaming.

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One of the main themes in the book is the suffering of not only the author, but of the other children who face the same fate as well; children who were born in poverty, who grew up facing cruelty from the world and even sometimes from their families and who were forced to sacrifice the joys of childhood to have a better chance of surviving. Grande talks about how, amidst the daily struggles she had to face when she was in Mexico and later on when she moved to the States, she was able to learn the power of love. She writes how the will to keep on moving forward united her with her siblings strengthened their relationship, which would make the importance of family the next key theme of the story.

Grande paints an accurate picture of the emotions a child feels when separated from his or her family. Grande’s father leaves her to make some money and build a new life for them in the USA when she was only two years old, and two years later, her mother joins her husband as well. Reyna is left with her grandmother, Evila, and her siblings, Carlos and Mago, and carries a picture of her father whom she calls “The Man behind the Glass.” She explains that her father is like a man behind a glass wall; she remembers him, but she is never actually able to see him clearly or touch him. Her father returned for her when she was eight and took his children with him across the border to “El Otro Lado” (“The Other Side”). She tells us that her father had a drinking problem...

(The entire section contains 540 words.)

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