Last Updated on February 12, 2020, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 246
Undocumented: A Dominican Boy’s Odyssey From a Homeless Shelter to the Ivy League by Dan-el Padilla Peralta was published in 2015. Padilla recounts his trials and tribulations growing up as an undocumented immigrant in New York City and ultimately making his way to Ivy League schools.
One of the quotes that describes the author's life between two worlds—the working-class neighborhoods of East Harlem and the wealthy, elite Manhattan private school he went to—is:
How does one fit in while still trying to please one's family?
This conveys to readers the dilemmas that Padilla faced and how he had to navigate between different types of social classes.
Another quote that conveys Padilla's dual life is found in the author's note:
Perhaps it angers you that "talking white" was sold as the path to upward mobility.
In the note, he dedicates the book to those like him—minorities and those who grew up in low-income households—and addresses them directly. With the particular quote above, Padilla presents the two cultures that some African American and Latino youth in poor urban communities live within: the urban, impoverished areas and "White America."
A large portion of the book deals with this duality. For instance, the author articulates how self-aware he was about his surroundings even at a young age:
In my teenage negotiation of the divide between the hood life and school life, I was carefully managing which aspects of myself I'd present to the people around me.
Unlock This Study Guide Now
- 30,000+ book summaries
- 20% study tools discount
- Ad-free content
- PDF downloads
- 300,000+ answers
- 5-star customer support