Lost Children Archive

by Valeria Luiselli

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Part III Summary

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Last Updated on June 8, 2022, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 962

Part III: Apacheria

Dust Valleys

The original narrator, “Ma,” returns to her role, picking up where the boy left off. She recalls the hours after the kids’ disappearance, when she and her husband frantically speed along the roads in search of their lost children. Deep down, the narrator wonders if the kids will survive in the desert heat.

The narrator and her husband head to the Lordsburg Police Station and file a report. The police tell them to stay at a nearby motel, but after a few days, the two become restless and decide to drive west. It’s at this point that the narrator looks for her map and discovers the note and hand-drawn map from the boy. Now they have a destination.

During the drive, the narrator cannot stop thinking. Her mind is reeling with questions of why and how and when. When they arrive at the Chiricahua Mountains, they abandon the car and head into the cliffs.

Heart of Light

This section contains the last six elegies in the Elegies of the Lost Children book, which cover the fate of the remaining six children. At one point, the train stops, and a soldier climbs on board. The kids are filled with fear as the soldier walks over to the youngest boy and takes his backpack. He pulls out each item and flings it off the train. He does this with each of the children’s belongings. A train whistle blows, and the soldier nods at the man in charge and hands him a large envelope before climbing down the ladder. The train continues on to its final stop.

When the train stops, the leaders assemble their groups and prepare to climb over the wall. The groups make it over the wall only to be met with gunfire. The man in charge of the six children screams at them to run and follow him as bodies hit the ground with bullet wounds. One of the boys drops from exhaustion as the man in charge is hit with a bullet. He tells them to keep going. The kids run until they no longer hear gunshots. They see storm clouds gathering in the distance and continue walking into an unknown future.

Echo Canyon

The boy reclaims his role as documentarian and narrator. In a single chapter-long sentence, he describes how the girl seems to be fading away, for she will not speak, only nod at his questions. They are both starving, and the boy wonders if the feeling is actually hopelessness.

Nearly overwhelmed by heat and exhaustion, the kids are saved by a nopal cactus from which they each grab a prickly pear and peel open the skin to drink the sweet juices inside. The girl, revived, asks the boy about the lost children and their fate. The boy pulls out his binoculars and tells the girl to look at the storm clouds gathering in the distance. That is where they will meet the lost children.

The thought of the lost children sends the boy’s mind into a tailspin as he thinks about one of the boys who gave up and lay down in the desert. He recognizes that he is a dot on one of his Ma’s maps, a dot that indicates death. The boy reminds himself to never stop walking in the middle of a desert.

Moments later, the boy trips and hits the ground. He wants to stay there and shut his eyes for just a moment but knows he can’t. The girl tells him to get up, and he obeys as lightning begins to strike. The boy again...

(This entire section contains 962 words.)

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makes a connection to the children and imagines the rest of their story to tell the girl.

The girl asks if the eagles flying above are there to eat them or protect them. The boy says they are there to protect them like the Eagle Warriors Pa spoke about. He decides to follow the birds as if they were following kites attached to strings.

The eagles lead the kids to an abandoned train car right before the sky opens with thunder and rain. The kids walk over to the train car, where they meet the four remaining lost children.

Together, the six children collect items to create a fire and build it in the center of the gondola. They find three eggs from an eagle’s nest in the corner of the train car and put the eggs in the flames to cook.  As the girl bites into an egg, she loses a tooth, which she gives to the boy for safekeeping. After the younger kids fall asleep, the boy and the oldest girl talk about why they ran away and who they were looking for. The girl thinks the narrator and his story are silly, wondering why someone would run away if they didn’t have to.

When the boy wakes up, the lost children are gone, and he finds his sister making mud pies. He notices a toy bow and arrow sitting next to her. She claims she gave the kids most of the boy’s belongings in exchange for it. The boy, furious, chides her but is comforted when the girl reminds him that Pa said the trip would be over when she lost her second tooth. They both believe they will find their parents today.

The kids make it to the Chiricahua Mountains and start climbing to Echo Canyon, following Pa’s directions. They rest in a grotto and play Apache games to pass the time. They start shouting and begin to hear the echoes, realizing they have finally made it to the right location. Off in the distance, they hear people calling. They hear other echoes and know they have been saved.


Part II: Continental Divide–Lost Summary


Part IV Summary