Who Are the Illegal Immigrants?

The book Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits has a very interesting structure that starts with the present time and then does a flashback. For example, the first chapter of the book is called, The Trip. This chapter is the only chapter so far that tells a full story about a character. In other words, it talks about Murad’s life before and after immigrating to Spain. In this chapter, Lalami, includes some characters that Murad meets on the boat, such as Aziz, and Halima. However, Lalami doesn’t talk about their stories in this chapter. In the “Before” section, Lalami talks about Aziz in the “Acceptance” and Halima in the “Bus Rides”. I think Halima in the “Bus Rides” is the same Halima in the “The Trip” since Murad says in “The Trip” chapter, “Her mother, Halima, asked Murad…. her daughter and the other two boys around her.” In the “Bus Rides” Lalami mentions the mother “Halima” with her daughter, “Mona”, and her two twin brothers, Farid and Amin. Similarly, in “The Trip”, Murad said that Aziz was a good swimmer and he was swimming really fast. In the Acceptance chapter, Aziz told his best friend Lahcen to not worry about him because he was a good swimmer. Clearly, in the Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits, Lalami shows a scene of people immigrating to Spain illegally and then does a flashback to talk about the reason behind their immigration. This taught me that although refugees can be seen as the illegal immigrants who break the law, they immigrate to build a better life for themselves and families.

The book Hope and Other Dangerous Pursuits also explains the causes of people immigrating illegally and the consequences for their actions. Some chapters, such as “Acceptance” and “Bus Rides” highlight themes like family separation, the lack of job opportunities, and women rights. In the “Bus Rides”, Halima talks about how her husband used to beat her every once in a while. In addition, she talks about how her husband would take her children if they get divorce because she had no rights as a woman in Morocco. The point of this chapter is to show how some women immigrate to Europeans countries to be treated equally and have rights as men. Other immigrants risk their lives and get separated from their families to for job opportunities. For example, Aziz in the “Acceptance” chapter left his wife and parents to find good job in Spain. Today, European countries are flooded by refugees and these two chapters show the reasons why people are risking their lives to immigrate and read their dreams.

I really enjoyed reading the first half of the book and now I’m wondering how did Lalami’s experience as an immigrant influence her to write this book?