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The Distance Between Us

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Justin Bouyer

on 5 June 2015

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Transcript of The Distance Between Us

The Distance Between Us
Written By: Reyna Grande
Prezi By: Justin Bouyer

She's a Mexican author who mainly focuses her writings on immigration because she can relate to it very well. She attended Pasadena City College but got her B.A.
degree in Literature/Creative Writing at UC, Santa Cruz.
Who's Reyna Grande?
This book is about the journey of a young girl, Reyna Grande, who had to escape the suffering of poverty in Mexico with her family, in a quest for better life in the United States. She had to deal with many hardships but she learned a lot through her journey.
The Distance Between Us
Suffering In Mexico
Iguala Mexico
Novels Written:
Across A Hundred Mountains
The Distance Between US
Awards Won:
2006 El Premio Aztlan Literary Award (Across A Hundred Mountains)

Selected for
2014 One Maryland, One Book (The Distance Between Us)

Reyna Grande
El Otro Lado
Dancing With Butterflies
Important lesson learned:
It takes a family to create a successful life
Growing up to be mature is an important life lesson...
A united family is a successful family...
The different relationships in the Grande family was another central theme throughout the memoir. First off, the relationship between her and her grandmothers was very rocky. They often argued and as a result, she was beat multiple times. This was a problem because they had to live together for 8 years and it affected Reyna's moods. Another rocky family relationship was between her mother and father. After Papi, her father, moved to the United States, he ended up divorcing the mother because he found someone new. This was a problem because it resembled how Reyna's family was falling apart and without a family, most people can't get through life. The quote represents this theme because the "broken beauty" represents that her family is falling apart.
Immigrating to a new country can be very challenging...
The Endless Circle of Central Themes
Why People Need to Read This Book
Reason
This book can teach you a lot about immigration and the reasons why people choose to live in different countries. For example, in this memoir it was clear that the main reason why Reyna's family immigrated to America was because they couldn't economically support themselves and they believed that would have a better life outside the walls of Mexico. Most people just look at the statistics but fail to understand the story behind every immigrant.
Reason
After reading this book, it would also help the reader to appreciate their family and not take it for granted. For example, Reyna didn't have a true family and in the book she said, "As a child I felt unloved. I felt abandoned." This quote can help the reader realize that having a stable family should be something that we cherish because anything could go wrong. Despite this Reyna was able to make the best out of what she had.

Reason
This book should also be read because it shows a different perspective on how people in different countries view America. For example, the term "el otro lado" was used which represented "the other side." This showed that people like Reyna viewed America as hope, and it gives America a great reputation. By reading a new perspective, it can help the reader understand and even help to the characters better.
Reason
Another reason to read this book because it teaches the reader that determination and perseverance can carry you through life. For example, Reyna said that she wanted to give up because it was not easy for her to learn English. However, she realized that quitting at this point was not an option because she has been through a lot already. As a result of her not giving up, she was successfully able to get her B.A degree in literature and creative writing.
Reason
The author of this book formatted it in a way where the reader would always be interested and intrigued by what happens next. For example, when I read the part where Reyna was going to live with her dad in America i asked myself many questions such as "Will they get along?" "Will Papi be able to stop doing drugs and think about his family?" All of these questions made me want to continue reading.
IMPORTANT QUOTE: "We were already living in some kind of Hell in this strange place of broken beauty."
IMPORTANT QUOTE: "When I was enrolled in 5th grade, the class was taught in English. I was put in a little corner, along with other non-English speakers..."
Throughout this entire memoir, Reyna went from a little girl to an independent woman. In the beginning of the memoir, Reyna, like some unfortunate children in the world, only knew one way of life which was through poverty. Also, young children like her need a father and mother figure in their lives but sadly she didn't always have that. However, all of this coming together allowed her to grow up on her own and be more mature. After coming to the United States, she was successfully able to get a good education and decent job for herself. Her struggles in the past allowed her to be the great person she is to this day. The two quotes to the left represent this central theme because it is a comparison how she felt when she was a child versus how she felt after her experiences.
IMPORTANT QUOTES: "As a child I felt unloved. I felt abandoned."

"My experience of being left behind helped me because it made me strong. I learned to be independent and self-reliant."
Setting in Iguala, Mexico:
A population of 110,390 as of the census of 2005
known for products such as corn, beans, sugarcanes, peanuts, and rice
industrial activities include gold mining and smithing
called Municipality of Iguala de la Independencia
Iguala in Reyna Grande's Eyes
Reyna Grande was very adamant about her views on Iguala, Mexico. Life for her in this place was pretty much Hell. After both her parents left her for the United States, she was forced to live with her two grandmothers along with her two siblings in great poverty. The education she was receiving was very poor. Reyna was forced to do hard labor at times. On top of this rough situation, her grandmothers were very abusive. If she didn't get home at a certain time, she was beat badly. Her grandmothers also told Reyna and her siblings a myth about this lady in Mexico who kills any children who don't obey their parents, or in this case their grandmothers. As a result it is very clear that the setting in Mexico played a major role in the life of Reyna Grande.
It was evident that Reyna had a rough time adapting to the way of life in America because it was much different than life in Mexico. Once illegally immigrating to the United States, she had to first learn the English language which was very hard for her. In school she was taught how to speak English but she wasn't taught with the rest of her classmates, she was taught with the other non-English speakers. This was an essential skill for her to learn because without it, she wouldn't be able to survive in America. Reyna also had to make sure the government didn't catch her and send her back to Mexico because she was an illegal immigrant. Having all of these problems to deal with definitely made it a rough transition for her to deal with. The quote represents this theme because it showed that Reyna wasn't able to learn with the rest of the kids, and she was always multiple steps behind them.
*El Otro Lado means "the other side"*
Important Characters
Reyna Grande
This memoir portrays Reyna Grande's enitre life. She is a very interesting person to read about and is described by many as inspirational, role model, and a true vocalist. In her memoir she was able to over come so many different obstacles such as poverty, family feuds, and abuse to become to successful woman she is today. She was the type of character that would warm the reader's heart because of her no quit attitude in life.
Papi
For the most part, Papi had a negative affect in the memoir. For starters, he was a major reason for the family falling apart because he left Reyna and her mom when Reyna was only 2 years old. After he left, he also divorced his wife and became addicted to drugs. This was bad because Reyna never had a good father figure to live up to.
Mami
Mami was pretty much absent most times in Reyna's life. Like Papi, she also went to the United States but because she wanted to find a better job. However, Reyna was the closest to Mami and in the memoir Reyna said, "My umbilical cord was like a ribbon that connected me to Mami...it doesn't matter that there is a distance between us now..." The title was dedicated to Mami.
Abuela Evila
Most would view grandmothers as very loving and caring for their grandchildren but she was the complete opposite. Abuela Evila was very abuse especially to Reyna. It seemed like Abuela Evila was really frustrated about their position in life and she took it all out on her grandchildren. She was definitely a feared character throughout the memoir.
Elizabeth
Elizabeth was Reyna's babysitter for part of the time when she lived in Mexico. She was taking the place of her mom, because Mami was away. Elizabeth helped clean her, make some of her meals, and any other duties that a normal babysitter would do. She was a big help throughout their situation
mom
umbilical cord
The

Distance
Between

Us,

a
book
that

will

be
enjoyed
by

many.
This video shows the dreams that her family had for going to America and this can be represented by all of the central themes in the memoir.
Central Themes Video
Full transcript