Marcos Quintero

Professor Ramos

English 1A

April 17, 2018

The Limits Of Love

How far would you go to ensure the safety and happiness of your mother? What about your father or siblings? What about your own children? Throughout “The Book Of Unknown Americans”, many characters sacrifice for their loved ones, but throughout history there have been many instances where a person gives up on their loved one for their own well-being. I firmly believe that every single person on this planet has a limit either emotionally or physically before they give up on the person(s) they care for.

To say u would die for someone is not the ultimate sacrifice, to live for someone is much harder. It’s much easier to take a bullet in the head and die instantly than it is to be subjected to torture and being broken both emotionally and physically. In “The Book Of Unknown Americans” characters such as Arturo sacrifice everything they have for their loved ones. Arturo leaves the country he loves to ensure that his daughter Maribel is given the best chance at a normal life, leaving the country also comes with the price of working in a horribly stressful job and living in an extremely run down apartment. For reference, “Well, I stood in a warehouse for ten hours and picked mushrooms out of the dirt”.”When was the last time you drank something?””Before I left this morning”(Henriquez, 24 & 25).

Maybe being physically and emotionally stressed out everyday doesn’t concern you, what about facing your worst fears? Whether it be spiders, heights, clowns, or drowning do you think that you can live and confront that fear every day? In the book a character named Mayor must face his fear, that being an extremely cruel bully, almost every day to protect his girlfriend that he has fallen in love with. Mayor fights the bully named Garrett knowing he is going to get his ass kicked, but he does it anyway. For reference, “And that’s when I punched him. I’d never punched anyone in my life, but before I knew it, I squeezed my hand shut, drew back my elbow, and punched Garrett right in the side of the neck”(Henriquez, 128 & 129). This is extremely courageous on his part, but if you were in his shoes and you were facing your worst fears, could you rescue your loved one?


In the Russian famine of 1921, many families were forced to face the horrifying fact that they may starve to death. Knowing this many parents died doing whatever they could to get their children food. On the other hand, some parents did the unspeakable and killed their own children either to stop their suffering, or to eat them so that they would survive. I and many other people would easily say that they would die for a loved one and never hurt the ones they love even if it meant their own death, but how easily would you say yes? In the book, Arturo immediately heads straight into danger after he finds out that Maribel had been harassed by Garrett. Without a second thought Arturo heads to Garrett’s house in the middle of a blizzard to find his daughter, but this decision ultimately leads to his demise. For reference, “I’m going to find that boy…Arturo zipped his coat… He opened the door. I’ll be back soon”. To die slowly in the cold like Arturo did is a nightmare to many, but if it meant that you could POTENTIALLY save your loved ones life, do you take that chance? Or be the “greedy” parents from the famine that put the lives of their childrens before their own.

My own parents have done so much for me that I don’t feel as if I can ever repay them. My father worked a shitty job as a driver for the majority of his life so far so that he could put food on the table for the family. My mother gave up her future when she had me and also worked a job as a hotel desk worker that she hated. I’m just happy that they both live comfortably now and aren’t miserable after all that they’ve sacrificed for me. I feel like I haven’t done enough for them in my life so far, I have sacrificed for other loved ones that I’m proud looking back on, but I’ve neglected my parents. After reading even little things like Mayor arguing with Quisqueya about Maribel, I know now more than ever that I have to do more so that the people I love, feel loved. For reference, “Maybe that’s because there’s something wrong with your brain” (Henriquez 170).  So I ask you, what have you done for the people you love? If you were gone tomorrow, can you be sure that your loved ones will remember you for all the good times you’ve had with them, or the things you’ve done to make them happy? Please take the time to show the people that mean something to you that you love and appreciate them. Give them a hug and tell them you love them, you never know when it’ll be the last time you speak to them.


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“Face your fear, empty yourself, trust your own voice, let go of control, have faith in outcomes, connect with a larger purpose, derive meaning from the struggle.” – Kano Jigoro

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