Lost Children Archive Characters

The main characters in Lost Children Archive are the unnamed primary narrator, the narrator's husband, and their two children: the boy and the girl.

  • The narrator: The primary narrator of the novel is a journalist who has recently joined families with her husband, from whom she feels increasingly distant. Her work centers on the stories of undocumented migrant children.
  • The narrator's husband: The narrator's husband is an ethno-audiologist whose new project centers on the Apaches.
  • The boy: The boy, who narrates his own section of the novel, is the son of the narrator's husband. He is ten years old.
  • The girl: The girl, who is five years old, is the narrator's daughter from a previous marriage.

Characters

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Last Updated on January 8, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 378

Valeria Luiselli identifies her novel Lost Children Archive as one that explores the theme of immigration, particularly as it relates to contemporary American political discussions about the Mexican border and the treatment of immigrant children (Zamora 2019). As such, the characters depicted in Lost Children Archive allow the author to...

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Valeria Luiselli identifies her novel Lost Children Archive as one that explores the theme of immigration, particularly as it relates to contemporary American political discussions about the Mexican border and the treatment of immigrant children (Zamora 2019). As such, the characters depicted in Lost Children Archive allow the author to explore the complexities of these topics. In this response I will briefly outline the main characters depicted in this novel.

The Narrator

The book's narrator is a woman traveling with her husband and children in a car from New York City to the Mexican border. She wants to create a powerful journalistic work about how Border Patrol are treating child migrants. She and her husband ponder the ethical implications of telling these real-life stories. Could such acts actually put the children in greater danger? Is it exploitative to tell such stories?

As they make their way toward the border, the relationship between the narrator and her husband unravels. The narrator's thoughts often return to memories of the early days of their time together. The decaying landscape they witness on their travels shares similarities with their dying marital union, as can be seen in the narrator's observations on her own role in the relationship breakdown: “I needed to admit my share: although I hadn’t lit the match that started this fire, for months I had been leaving a trail of dry debris.”

The Narrator's Husband

The narrator's husband is hoping to craft a project of his own, and it has thematic similarities to his wife's work. His audio project focuses on the experiences of the Apache in the nineteenth century. The Apache (a term that refers to several culturally related Native American tribes) were the last of the Native Americans to surrender to the American military.

The Narrator's Children

The narrator is accompanied on her journey by her children: a five-year-old girl and a ten-year-old boy. Like the narrator and her husband, these characters remain unnamed throughout the novel. Unlike the migrant children, the narrator's children experience protection from violence and disorder on their journey. Both the boy and the girl are products of previous relationships. While they experience protection from danger, there is an air of uncertainty hanging over their futures, as the bond between their parents is no longer stable.

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