Across a Hundred Mountains is a novel written by Reyna Grande. It is based on Grande’s childhood and abandonment fears when her parents left her and her siblings under grandmother in search for work on “the other side”. Although the narration is a partial cover of her life, it brings how the challenges that children often face when left behind by parents. The essay will focus on the analysis of the literary elements such as the theme of family ties, characterization, and symbolism. The essence of family lays the foundation for the development of children.
The struggle of Apa seeking work to help sustain his family by going to the “other side” or El otro lado” illuminates how he loves his family. Despite the disconnection, he takes a risk by crossings the Mexican-US border as his motivation is on obtaining the American dream of a better life. Juana decision to search for his father after 19 years displays the need to reconnect as she felt lonely and wanted to know what become of her father. “Ama and Apa had held on to each other like now, but Juana had been put in between them, so they could share their grief as a family” (Grande 17). Additionally, the demise of his daughter, Anita during the floods although Juana blames herself for her death, their father is remorseful. In fact, Apa takes the blame for her demise, “It was my fault, Juana. I should’ve worked harder to get us out of there. I should’ve worked more hours, and little by little I could’ve built us a better house closer to town” (Grande 18). This took a different twist since the perspective of Apa as the ahead of the house was based on providing for his family and erecting a strong shelter. This depicts the commitment of the family.
The aspect of characterization is utilized effectively by Grande. The characterization helps in understanding the story. The illustration also brings forth the various themes in the novel as the character reinforces the themes indented by Grande, for example, the death of Maria ouches on issues of poverty. Apa’s family were living in poverty. Maria one of the characters died from the scorpion sting. Given the family had no money; it was difficult to take her to hospital. Additionally, Josephine also dies before she was born. It seemed as though she had already surrender about life as she already left her mother’s women when she died, “It was as if she had given up on life, even before she was born. One day she loosened her hold and was stillborn at four months” (Grande 19). Juana as the main character helps in understanding her family. She is 12 years old, despite her innocence, she feels guilty about the death of her sister. As a responsible girl, she takes courage and aimlessly started looking for his father, the portrayal of the story thorough Juana life shows how encounters of life that affects children as they grow. The other significant character is Adeline who is 17 years old. Her life is complicated and was driven by love as she eloped with her boyfriend in Mexico. Regardless of her prostitution life, she lives a humble life. She is also friendly, honest and caring. The context of the character living a different life illuminates how poverty had driven her out of their home (Grande 21).
The use of symbolism is evident in the novel. Grande use of symbolism is through freedom. The symbolism of freedom is strong as Adelina fight to get the freedom to retrieve his father. Adelina is ready to take the bones as her hope is rekindled. The ordeal is paramount to her as she wants to be free from her thought concerning abandonment. Both Juana and Adelina had lived a life feeling abandoned. Adeline says “I have to know, for nineteen years I have not known what happened to my father” (Grande 27). The coverage of the novel illustrates a broken, hurt and poverty-stricken family. Everyone desires a better life with his or her families. One would not fancy living such a miserable life. It is the process of fixing the broke ties of the family. Also, death as a symbol took center stage in the novel. It is feared by people, Juana felt devastated “she dug her fingers into the mud, lifted her head, and screamed” (Grande 98). This shows how the feeling of guiltiness can cause someone to want to die. Conclusively, the use of literary elements is critical in analysis forms of literature. It helps in understanding the Across a Hundred Mountains story and can extract various lessons, for example, the significance of family ties. Additionally, shared sentiments by Apa and Juana on the death of Anita shows how the family is united by love and each one of them was responsible for being each other’s keeper.