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The Book of Unknown Americans

The Book of Unknown Americans


Cristina Henríquez

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The Unknown and The American Dream Theme Analysis

Themes and Colors
The Unknown and The American Dream Theme Icon
Longing Theme Icon
Isolation vs. Community Theme Icon
Futility, Chance, and Loss Theme Icon
LitCharts assigns a color and icon to each theme in The Book of Unknown Americans, which you can use to track the themes throughout the work.
The Unknown and The American Dream Theme Icon

The American Dream—the idea that in America everyone, regardless of race, creed, or class, can enjoy prosperity, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness—is a driving force in the lives of the characters in Cristina Henríquez’s The Book of Unknown Americans. The pursuit of the American dream offers, in theory, the chance not just to be safe and sheltered in the United States, but also to be seen, known, and accepted. However, as Henríquez’s characters—almost all immigrants from South and Central America, who occupy the same bustling apartment complex—make their new lives in the United States, they each find that the myth of the American dream does not offer quite what they thought it would. As Henríquez’s characters reckon with realizing that they are—and perhaps always will be—the “unknown” Americans, they struggle to accept that the reality of American opportunity is different from the myth of being recognized and embraced—the reality of the American dream is struggle, uncertainty, and unknowability.

Arturo and Alma Rivera come from México in an attempt to heal their brain-injured daughter, Maribel. Rafael and Celia Toro left Panamá with their small children, Enrique and Mayor, to escape the horrors of war. Others in the apartment building departed their home countries in search of fortune and fame. All of Henríquez’s characters are chasing something to the United States—and few of them ever really find it. Some are able to accomplish a version of their dreams and experience, to some degree, the feeling of being seen—once Broadway-bound, the dejected Nelia Zafón opens a small theater of her own in Delaware; Benny Quinto, who dreamed of striking it rich and turned to dealing drugs in order to do so, realized that a life of safety and temperance was more appealing than one of high risks for high rewards. However, huge roadblocks still stand between these characters and the achievement of the dreams they set out to make a reality. Prejudice, discrimination, cultural and linguistic barriers, and the cruel realization that the American dream is a fantasy deepen the feeling of being “unknown,” and Henríquez forces her characters to reckon head-on with their disappointment and frustration.

The word “unknown” means a lot of different things within the context of this novel. The characters in it are unknown within the country they have worked so hard to be able to call home—but they are also, in large part, unknown to themselves and to each other. Their futures, too, are unknown, and on top of everything, the longer they stay in America the more unknown they become to the people from their pasts. When the Toros save up for a trip home to Panama, Rafael’s friend tells him, over the phone a few days before the journey, that Rafael is no longer Panamanian but is now “gringo royalty.” Hurt and furious, Rafael cancels the trip. José Mercado, a Puerto Rican Navy man with the soul of a poet, enlisted in the military as a young man as a proud service member in order to please his father and feel a connection to his country. Pursuing his vision of what it means to be an American, though, has taken a toll on both his physical and emotional well-being, and José now, in his old age, feels more unknown than ever before.

节目22 魔术《魔琴》,刘谦等
Company: BooginHead
One highlight of last year's box office was seven high-quality domestic films listed on the top 10 earners, including 'Monster Hunt', a live-action hybrid, and 'Monkey King: Hero is Back', a 3D animation based on the classic ancient story.
And England ? Well, maybe the best thing to say is that this time, for once, no-one is really expecting anything, and just even getting out of the group is going to be a bonus.

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The Unknown and The American Dream Quotes in The Book of Unknown Americans

Below you will find the important quotes in The Book of Unknown Americans related to the theme of The Unknown and The American Dream.
Chapter 1: Alma Quotes

China must walk a narrow line at a time when its outgoing leadership is reluctant to take any far-sighted decisions.
n. 粉底霜,基

Related Characters: Alma Rivera (speaker)
Page Number: 3
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 3: Rafael Toro Quotes

As we ring in the New Year, let’s take stock of where we are at with the oil markets. 2014 proved to be a momentous one for the oil markets, having seen prices cut in half in just six months.
As a point of comparison, the combined 29.1 million total from those old master sales was 34 percent less than the 44.2 million Christie’s and Sotheby’s took in at equivalent events five years ago, in December 2011.
The surviving cat, since named Trooper, has recovered and found a new home.
Potus v Korus

Related Characters: Rafael “Rafa” Toro (speaker), Celia Toro
Page Number: 23
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4: Alma Quotes

So, yeah, if this edition of the World Cup seems a bit more exciting than you're used to, this is a big reason why.
今年的英国《金融时报》和麦肯锡年度最佳商业图书奖(Financial Times and McKinsey Business Book of the Year Award),颁给了一部描写前美联储(Fed)主席艾伦.格林斯潘(Alan Greenspan)的传记,其内容引人入胜、面面俱到。
“Airbnb is here to stay,” Mr. Gottsegen said. “Instead of fighting it, we should wrap our arms around it and make it better.”

执行程序中 如何保护承租人权利

Faber laughs at Bernanke's remark that the economy would be strong enough later this year so he could take his foot off the gas, that is begin 'tapering, or scaling back it's stimulative quantitative easing (QE) program later this year.' Yes, laughed.

Related Characters: Alma Rivera (speaker), Arturo Rivera (speaker), Maribel Rivera
Page Number: 27
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 7: Alma Quotes

Do you routinely roll your eyes? Do you have a weak handshake? Do you avoid making eye contact? These could all be career killers. People must understand that actions speak louder than words. And the majority of our communication is done through non-verbal cues. People could perceive some of your non-verbal communication habits as rude or unprofessional—and these things could eventually have a significant impact on the advancement of your career.
One fifth of the rich in the 500 list are from the information technology industry, and capital players are fading away from the list.
But he sees his time in the classroom as invaluable, crediting it with having given him a resilience that he now draws on in the latest phase of his career.
Talking about wanting to kill your boss may not be that uncommon, but it does put a damper on things when said boss actually ends up murdered. When the police came to ask questions, they ended up learning that the Cranston brothers had recently resigned to ride their motorcycles cross-country. Until they could be cleared, the two men were both suspects.
I know a lot more about you when you walk in the door than you realize. I'll search for you on the web and often use my own personal network to do a pre-interview reference check.
In the next few years, by 2018, theincrease to $1.3 trillion will be due to about $100 billion on hepatitis Cdrugs, the same sums spent on cancer treatment, and $78 billion on diabetescare.

Related Characters: Alma Rivera (speaker)
Page Number: 60
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8: Mayor Quotes

When it’s time to buy a new car, you have 36 brands to choose from. Each automotive brand has something to offer, but not every brand is right for every buyer. Some brands excel at making performance cars, others focus on making family-friendly crossovers or specialize in luxury cars.

虽然仿生腿对截肢者来说是巨大的福音,但是它们与人体缺乏真正的神经联系,导致依靠仿生腿走路十分麻烦和劳累。但是去年,西雅图的居民Zac Vawter 安装了世界上第一支思想控制的腿,一种直接接受从他大脑发出信号的仿生肢体。
Folk Song “Horse-Head Fiddle On A Deck”(Wang Hongwei)
This can involve everything from not responding to e-mails to not being aware of how you come across in an e-mail. If you have a bad habit of taking too long to check or respond to e-mails, you could miss important meetings or deadlines, cause delays or confusion, or come off as unprofessional.

Related Characters: Mayor Toro (speaker), Rafael “Rafa” Toro (speaker)
Page Number: 78
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12: Quisqueya Solís Quotes

Facebook的品牌价值增长44%,该公司增加了新的功能,包括平安信使(Safety Check),让用户迅速通知家人和朋友他们是安全的。Elspeth Cheung表示,这些创新提高了这家媒体集团作为一个不可或缺的全球联络媒介的重要性,同时增加了其对广告商的价值。

Related Characters: Quisqueya Solis (speaker)
Page Number: 118
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13: Alma Quotes

埃尔多安发表上述言论之际,距荷兰大选投票已不足24个小时——反伊斯兰候选人海尔特?维尔德斯(Geert Wilders)引发的围绕伊斯兰在荷兰社会中角色的热烈辩论,让本次大选变得格外有看头。维尔德斯的自由党(PVV)目前在民调中排名第二。
adj. 可能的,潜在的
The parents of a number of stars have ended up with their Oscar-winning child’s awards. Angeline Jolie’s late mum, for a number of years, had the best supporting actress award her daughter won for her role as the troubled Lisa Rowe in Girl, Interrupted. Nicole Kidman’s best actress Oscar for The Hours now sits on her parents’ mantelpiece in Sydney, where neighbours apparently pass by for visits. Hollywood’s darling du jour, Jennifer Lawrence, keeps the award she won last year for her leading role in Silver Linings Playbook on top of her parents’ piano at home in Kentucky.

Related Characters: Alma Rivera (speaker), Maribel Rivera
Related Symbols: The Ladder
Page Number: 120
Explanation and Analysis:

Chen Yu, vice-president of the China Association for Employment Promotion, said a startup may be meaningful, but one should not expect too much from it.

Related Characters: Arturo Rivera (speaker), Alma Rivera, Maribel Rivera
Page Number: 123
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 15: Adolfo “Fito” Angelino Quotes

3. Jia Junpeng, your mom wants you to go home for dinner.”
Rose McGowan accused producer Harvey Weinstein of rape this time last year, sparking an avalanche of allegations in the entertainment industry and beyond.
For: Since it premiered at the Venice Film Festival, it's being wowing audiences.

Related Characters: Adolfo “Fito” Angelino (speaker)
Page Number: 146
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 17: Mayor Quotes



“What?” my mom asked.


全国租房需求增长近六成 今年房租涨了16.7%

Related Characters: Celia Toro (speaker), Rafael “Rafa” Toro (speaker), Mayor Toro
Related Symbols: Rafael’s Car
Page Number: 166
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 18: Nelia Zafón Quotes

On my walk home sometimes, as I stepped back down into that cellar apartment, my eyes heavy from exhaustion, I would think, Is this what this is? This country? My life? Is this all? But even when I thought that, I was always aware of some other part of me saying, there is more. And you will find it.

Related Characters: Nelia Zafón (speaker)
Page Number: 177
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 19: Alma Quotes

The other sex toy apparently belonged to a Chinese imperial family.
单词global 联想记忆:
I give all my love to you this New year.值此佳节,献上我对你所有的爱。
6. Am I maintaining healthy relationships? Is there a relationship in your life that needs a little extra care and attention? Do you need to right a wrong with someone? Try to stay aware of how you’re treating the people in your life.
China’s foreign exchange reserves posted their third-largest monthly decline on record last month, central bank data showed yesterday, renewing worries about capital outflows after reserves had appeared to stabilise.
vi. 自制

Related Characters: Alma Rivera (speaker), Arturo Rivera, Maribel Rivera
Page Number: 181-82
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 24: Micho Alvarez Quotes

10.Firefly was Inspired by Gettysburg
"It sounds like Harvard is intruding too deeply into the private lives of students," said Dershowitz, who has represented a series of high-profile clients, including OJ Simpson.
His mother says he is a scapegoat. 'This company is in the process of attempting to sue a 14-year-old child,' she wrote in the letter which has been shared online.
SIZE: 3,073 square feet

Related Characters: Micho Alvarez (speaker)
Page Number: 231
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 27: Alma Quotes

More than 90 per cent of alumni from the most recent graduating classes accepted a job offer within three months of completing their programme.
“我们需要做市长希望大家做的事——建造更多住房,”纽约房地产委员会主席史蒂芬·斯皮诺拉(Steven Spinola)说,但是,“如果数据上不可行,如果收回来的租金低于建筑的维护成本,那你就不会这么做了。”

Related Characters: Alma Rivera (speaker), Arturo Rivera, Maribel Rivera
Page Number: 276
Explanation and Analysis:

BROAD CITY (Comedy Central, Jan. 14) Ilana Glazer and Abbi Jacobson return for a second season of satirizing the poses, compromises and sheer physical grossness of life in New York when you’re underemployed and self-absorbed.
Those concerns are casting a heavy shadow over a two-day meeting of G20 central bank governors and finance ministers due to start tomorrow. The International Monetary Fund this week already warned that it was poised to downgrade its forecast for global growth this year, saying the leading economies needed to do more to boost growth.
Some 88 Chinese universities are included in the Global 400 subjects in the latest QS World University Rankings by Subject, which was released Tuesday by QS Quacquarelli Symonds, a higher education research firm.
节目5 创意器乐演奏《琴筝和鸣》雅尼(美国)、常静等
“You can choose to spend the time however you like,” he wrote, suggesting people “go travelling, pursue a philanthropic project, spend quality time with family or simply take time out to recharge and refocus”.
The former pupil at Audenshaw's Poplar Street Primary is studying at Withington Girls' School and starts at Altrincham Grammar School for Girls in September. She lives with her parents, Neelanga and Shiromi, who moved to Manchester from Sri Lanka in 2001. Dad Neelanga, 44, praised Nishi's first teachers at Poplar Street Primary. He said: 'We knew very early on that she was gifted. She started reading and writing very early and was became very good at mathematics. We gave her challenging, interesting things to do. As a parent, you do not want their talents to be wasted, but there has to be a balance with their childhood. She is just a normal 10-year-old, just like any other 10-year-old really. She loves reading, cycling and walking, and we're all very proud of her.'

Related Characters: Alma Rivera (speaker), Arturo Rivera, Maribel Rivera
Page Number: 282
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 28: Arturo Rivera Quotes

Enrollment: 511
Former Disney star-turned-wild child singer Miley Cyrus followed as the number two 'celeb gone good', according to the website. Father-to-be Channing Tatum came in third.

Related Characters: Arturo Rivera (speaker)
Page Number: 286
Explanation and Analysis: