Into the Beautiful North

by Luis Alberto Urrea

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Last Updated September 5, 2023.

One important theme in Into the Beautiful North is intertextuality; that is, the ability of stories to recursively animate and alter others. Nayeli is inspired to follow the men of her town to America after seeing the film The Magnificent Seven. The film does not only compel her to seek a better life, but also pushes her to model aspects of this potential life on its own story. Nayeli goes on to search for seven fighters who will help her defeat Speedy Gonzales and his gang of bandidos.

Another central theme is the interdependence of humanity. Nayeli's trio of friends, Vampi, Yolo, and Tacho, depend on each other, but also on random figures who crop up during their endeavor to return from America with an army to defeat the invaders of their Mexican town. The ties that the main characters form overcome their poverty and even stand in for biological family, such as when Nayeli's policeman father fails to reconnect to her.

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