Luis Alberto Urrea’s book, Into the Beautiful North can indeed be described as an expedition novel in the grand tradition, despite substantial inexistence of some factors within its plot layout in the pages. Undeniably, the author set the novel in the contemporary times, as characterized by the extremely electric realm of the United States and Mexico border expanse. Nonetheless, it is worth noting that the novel attempts to follow the hero’s journey as adduced by The Hero’s Journal Outline. This is so since the novel substantially satisfies some of the elements of the outline, with the exception of a few. Thus; it is in light of the above that this essay presents an analysis of the book, Into the Beautiful North with sharper focus on the elements of The Hero’s Journal Outline and other relevant components.
The book, Into the Beautiful North is established on the life of the main character, Nayeli, who is a teenage girl and her three friends, Yolo, Vampi and Tacho. Irrefutably, it meets the consideration of introducing the hero into the plot which is exemplified with the absence of men in the society. This is a great issue to the inhabitants of Tres Camarones in Sanaloa, Mexico, whose male members had crossed the Mexican border into the US in search for “better” opportunities. This rendered the community defenseless at the mercy of the drug barons. This is despite Nayeli’s assistance to her aunt in clinching the mayoral seat.
Moreover, a situation arises that culminates into the beginning of adventure within the plot. Nayeli and her friend are overwhelmed by a screening of The Magnificent Seven, and they consequently plan to return some of the male members of the community, who had gone to the US, who includes her own father. This is arguably, a momentous impetus for the characters in respect to the book meeting the element of an encouragement in this respect. Their mission is to get them back to help fight the bandidos and narcos to ensure their town gets a new lease of life. This is characteristic of Nayeli’s cries, within the book’s plot, “We can repopulate our town. We can save Mexico. It begins with us! It’s the new revolution Isn’t it time we got our men back into our own country?” Urrea 43
The call is nonetheless, unanimously accepted without much doubts as epitomized in most cases. There is sheer will and the visualizations of Yul Brynner and Estip McQueen propels the pilgrims’ departure for Tijuana. Noteworthy, is Tacho’s imagination of the journey as a reflection of the French resistance war film: “There would be a close-up of the blood drops falling on the cobbles, but the impatient Border Patrol agents would wave them through.”Indisputably, the films are their compass and mirror in their journey. However, this feat is satisfied a bit by Nayeli’s rejection of the book for her travels because she does not comprehend it and decides to leave it behind.
Arguably, the mentorship phase in the book, Into the BeautifulNorth is demonstrated by the films and two individuals, Tia Irma and Atómiko. It is palpable that the two fantasize an intolerable dream. Particularly, Atómiko is more perceptive. Atómiko says, “It’s not what you set out to do. You have to accomplish your quest to El Norte. Besides, these warriors are not worthy.” Urrea, 75
It is in reference to the group’s planned departure from Tijuana in company of some beggars from the dompe instead of the Siete Magnifico. Next, the element of crossing the threshold is visibly met in the book. Nayeli is utterly convinced that their journey would be marred with successful fruits, which is why she embarks on it. A set of tests, allies and enemies are evidently explored within the book, Into the Beautiful North. It goes without saying that the journey into the US with the mission to accomplish was a stress-free one. On numerous scenes within the book’s plot, the characters have to bear series of misfortunes in their journey majorly because they are in the US illegally and their lack of knowledge of the English language (Urrea, 280).Noteworthy, Nayeli’s journey does not complete with all the friends together as some are left along the way, only Tacho stands by her to the end of the novel’s plot.
There is a profound manifestation of the approach and the ordeal aspects of The Hero’s Journal Outline within the book, Into the Beautiful North. Nayeli’s group counters the challenges and good times head on. Experiences in the US attest to this. Some of the remarkable instances are shown by their witnessing the uneven deportation of some Colombians. Furthermore, the customs officials sexually harass Tacho (Urrea, 136). To make matters worse, their arrival in Tijuana is characterized by them realizing that their bags have disappeared.
Debatably; a significant culmination of the elements as described in The Hero’s Journal Outline within the book in relation to the book, Into the Beautiful North arrives the steps achieved so far. The remaining aspects of the outline to have been met are openly inconsequential in the book. This is largely because the main idea for getting involved in the journey, that would have rendered the heroic deed, is not met in the end. Instead, a rough situation that can be deemed as an anticlimax of the book is substantially demonstrated. This is by due to the fact that that Nayeli does not get to bring back her father as she had sought to do since she is advised by Mary Jo to avoid the rest upon seeing that her father was settled with a newer family in the United States (Urrea, 325). This is adequately an experience that ironic brings the twist at the end of the plot.
Likewise, the author of the book, Into the Beautiful North uses a number of characters and stylistic devices in the plot’s development. These include humor, illusion, allusion, imagery and suspense, among others.Additionally, certain pertinent themes spring from the novel, with the dominant ones being, reality versus illusion and the irrational racism. Reality versus illusion is exemplified through virtually all the characters of Mexican origin including the main one, Nayeli. Arguably, this is due to their evidenced assumptions that are founded on insufficient experience with the exception of Irma. Thus; in the end, they learn this feat the hard way, as a result of their naivety and much illusion in their lives. Irrational racism is evidenced virtually throughout their associations with the Americans within the US (Urrea, 280). The Tres Camaronians are mistaken for being Middle-Easterners. Further, their fellow Mexicans treat them like they are lesser “kin” to them.
In relation to the Wizard of Oz, Into the Beautiful North is of much lesser par in meeting the elements. First, Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz is embodied more of a hero than Nayeli in the latter book. Questionably; the former book meets the qualities of heroism feat within it than the latter despite the differences in their timely setting. Secondly, the feats of extraordinary situations within the plot are exemplified more in the former book than the latter. It is even epitomized with more magical mysteries that compound extraordinary situations in the former story. Finally, the former book is climaxed with a sure ending that is in tandem with the plot development, as compared to the latter’s case in which anticlimax is tenably manifested. All in all, both the texts are heroic, with the latter offering a classic, recent approach and the former, older fashion.
Urrea, Luis, A. Into the Beautiful North. Back Bay Books Reprint ed., 2010. Print.