Lost Children Archive Part 2:

This novel was one of my favourite ones in the course. Though I said in my last post that I felt that the novel lacked some kind of suspense in it, I feel that I did find some suspense as I was reading. Even if it lacked those complicated and climactic storylines, I was still eager in wanting to know what would happen next. For example, when the son decided to leave with his sister or when he lost her, I found myself continuously flipping through the pages eagerly wanting to know how everything would unfold.

As the second half is largely narrated from the ten-year-old boy, he recounts parts of the road trip from his perspective. We encounter a boy who witnesses the disunity of the parents, being unsure of his family’s future and feeling as is he has been put to the sidelines as his parents seem too occupied with their distinct projects. The boy decides to become a lost child himself and he brings his sister along on this journey to also find Manuela’s lost children. As I was reading their journey as lost children, far away from their parents I noticed how these children who live a privileged lifestyle compared to the other children referred to in the novel, undergo some of the difficulties that the true lost children go through. Difficulties such as when the brother and sister get separated, the heat and the sun weighing them down, living through dehydration and starvation, and finally riding on the gondolas of a train as if it was like being on La Bestia, which is the death train for many of these children heading north. The brother and sister are the ones that are now responsible to tell the story of the lost children, but instead of telling the story it seems as if they are performing some difficulties that the real lost children face.

One idea that really stuck with me throughout the novel and which is touched on some more in the second part of the novel is that of forgetting and erasing history. Just as the tombstones of the Apache chiefs that were located in a distant area hidden behind a wall which made it seemed as if they were “locked up and removed and disappeared from the map”, it seems to me as if the same thing is still currently happening with the stories of these children aspiring to find a better life as they head north. Only when their stories seem to serve other purposes such as political interests, it appears as if these children and their emotional stories disappear and seem to be forgotten. Though they disappear these stories haven’t ended yet as they still very much happen today.

2 thoughts on “Lost Children Archive Part 2:

  1. pamela salome chavez calapaqui

    Hi Stephanie!

    I also found that the perspective of the boy, in the second half of the book, let us see how he understood very well the difficulties that their parents were going through. I though for one second that the reason why he ended convincing his sister to go and find Manuela’s children; is because he though that by doing that, he would be able to have the attention of his mother and maybe make their parents to fix their problems and try to be together again. Sadly, this does not happen.

    This is also my favorite book so far. I will read it on my summer for sure 🙂

    Take care!

    -Pamela

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  2. Jon

    Some really good points here, Stephanie. Many thanks for this contribution to the class, as well as all the other ways you have added to and enriched our collective discussion and thinking.

    I’m struck by this sentence: “The boy decides to become a lost child himself and he brings his sister along on this journey to also find Manuela’s lost children.” There’s a bit of a contradiction here–and I don’t mean that it’s your contradiction, rather that it’s a tension in the novel–in that at the same time the boy both aims to find the lost children (so they would no longer be lost), and to join them (so he and Memphis would be lost, too).

    This contradiction reminds me of another, which crops up more than once in the book: when the boy narrator describes being “alone together” with this sister. They are both alone, and together. Just as the lost children would be both lost and found.

    And in some ways I think this is the project of the novel as a whole: to “find” the lost children, to ensure that their stories are not erased, but without pretending that they are not still in some sense “lost.”

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