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The Distance Between Us
Transcript of The Distance Between Us
Reyna Grande- (D) narrator; main character; author of the book
Mago Grande- (D) Reyna's older sister; "mother figure" for Reyna
Carlos Grande- (D) Reyna's older brother; has no male role model
Mami- (D) Reyna's mother who leaves for the U.S but eventually returns with another daughter
Elizabeth Grande- (S) Reyna's younger sister who was born in the U.S.
Papi- (S) Reyna's father who lives in the U.S.; Reyna doesn't have much memory of him
Abuela Evila- (S) Reyna's father's mother who resents Reyna, Mago, and Carlos
Abuela Chinta- (S) Reyna's mother's mother; it is not easy for the children to live with her, but an improvement from living with Abuela Evila
Elida- (S) Reyna's cousin who is also staying with Abuela Evila; favored and loved by Abuela Evila
Tia Emperatriz- (S) Becomes the new mother figure in the children's lives after Mami leaves
Tío Crece- (S) The closest person to a father figure that Carlos has, even though he does not represent a father figure
These four chapter go on for a period of two years. The children are still low on money since their parents have not been sending any according to Abuela Evila. School becomes a safe haven for Reyna where she can shine. Although things are still hard, the kids have begun to adjust to the life until they learn of that their mother is pregnant.
Another year has gone by , Reyna was stung by a scorpion and had to be taken to a doctor. The children have become attached to Tia Emperatriz and view her as a motherly figure. Mami comes back with her new born daughter Elizabeth (known as Betty) to Mexico because Papi has left her for another woman. She and the children back go to live with Abuela Chita, but we soon learn that Mami is no longer the same loving mother, but now full of spite and anger.
Living with Abuela Chinta has been more difficult than expected. A flood occurs and one of the children's cousins dies in the river. Without Papi around, Carlos becomes very attached to Tio Crece (who has schizophrenia), since he has been in search of a father figure. Then, Mago gets a job at the train station, since she realizes that they seem to be getting more and more poor. This section ends with Mami returning home and taking the children to the movie theater after her first pay day.
Themes of the Book
Coming of age without a supportive parental figure and shifting role models affects the self worth of a child, because he/she does not know who to trust or where to seek guidance/advice
Growing up without support or love of a stable parent negatively affects a child’s identity, because there is no set identity for a child to try to follow after
Each child/person responds to abandonment in his/her own way, but in any case, it is wrong for children to be abandoned by their parents
Broken promises and the let downs by parents are more devastating to a child than no promise at all
Reyna, Mago, and Carlos have been sent to stay with their strict grandmother while Mami travels to the United States to live with Papi. Although the family was always poor, they learn the feeling of being rejected and unloved by their grandmother. As Abuela Evila showers their cousin with kindness and gifts, she only views the children as a burden.
Mami leaves the children again with her new boyfriend after Mago throws a fit when seeing him. The children are living alone with Abuela Chita and Tio Crece until one day Papi shows up with his wife Mila. They say they are here for the children and are going to take them to the United States.
The Distance Between Us
Jackson B, Ryan F, Haley H, and Hannah L
"the distance between us and our parents was destroying our relationship more than any of us could have imagined" (p. 57)