Assimilating to another culture can be hard when people are used to their motherland’s traditions. Our societies have made it simply impossible for immigrants to live in the United States without the fear of deportation. My essay focuses on different obstacles such as the language barrier that people encounter in order to have a taste of the American dream. The movie Caracol Cruzando by Pamela Chavez focuses on how immigrants have to go through many barriers to live a better life. Our society has engraved fear upon immigrants when in reality they should be given a pathway to citizenship.
In order to obtain the American Dream, families have undergone drastic measures such as being separated. The film, Caracol Cruzando by Pamela Chavez, centers on an undocumented family who leaves their motherland, Costa Rica, in search of a better life. A young character in the animation named Anais shares her experience about crossing the border and how she was forced to leave her pet turtle Tiku. She then questions whether it would be okay if she snuck in her best friend Tiku during her migration journey to the United States. Throughout the film, the message being portrayed in the animation is the importance of family and the struggles faced when you're forced to leave part of your identity behind. The author appeals to authority, pathos, symbolism, and other literary devices to explain the family’s sacrifices when migrating to the United States. Due to not having documentation, low-income families are forced to face barriers such as assimilating to another culture and living under the fear of deportation.
As a child, you build friendships that you hope to never lose because they have helped build your identity. The short film, Caracol Cruzando focuses on a child's perspective of crossing the border and the innocence and unawareness that these children encountered. Throughout the beginning of the film, we can hear soft music playing in the background giving the audience a little more insight into their Indigenous background. Anais then decides to take a stroll around her neighborhood as she says her last goodbyes, but the scene that captures the audience's attention is when the author shapes a mountain into a bunny that is symbolic of the little girl's childhood. Then, Anais decides to climb to the top of the mountain where she communicates with a tree called Cerba. This is a reference to her culture because Anais continuously says she loves it and she doesn’t want to lose that part of her. The character then proclaims the fear enlisted in her when the thought of leaving her turtle comes to mind. As she says this, the turtle is hurt by a crab which comes to show that Anais believes the turtle won’t be strong enough to survive on its own. This tree is shaped into a lion figure, which symbolizes how clever she is and how she never gives up on her goals. The author appeals to pathos when the tree Cerba further explains the strong bond between the little girl and Tiku. Later on, in the film, the tree Cerba states, “Si lo se Caracolito pero lo más importante es que no te pierdas a sí misma tienes que ser valiente aunque tengas miedo,” which states that she shouldn’t let her fear interfere with her dreams. Another interpretation is that she shouldn’t forget that part of her identity and not be scared to share with others where she came from.
Throughout the film, the message being portrayed in the animation is the importance of family and the struggles faced when you're forced to leave part of your identity behind. The author appeals to authority, pathos, symbolism, and other literary devices to explain the family’s sacrifices when migrating to the United States.
Furthermore, Pamela Chavez, the animator demonstrates the struggle young children experience while saying goodbye to their motherland which they hold sentimental feelings for. Immigration is usually a hard topic to come across, since the film is shown from the girl's point of view, it’s not visualized as harshly and instead focuses on the girl's thoughts. The young character Anais focuses mostly on the impact of migrating to the United States, instead of the drastic measure she will be placed in. When Caracol arrives home, the boxes on the floor help the viewer understand that the family has prepared to move out which symbolizes a fresh start and the fear of not knowing what is waiting to unfold. This can also be a representation of new beginnings since they will assimilate to a culture the family doesn’t know much about. While Tiku the pet turtle lies on Caracol her mother shares a story regarding the separation between a family of fishes by a whale. The turtle laying upside down can be symbolic of the little girl's confusion about the struggles her family is facing and how she feels her worlds going upside down. The mother then uses the fictional story about the four fishes to symbolize every member of the family and the whale to represent their fears. It is also for Anais to become aware that their family will be separated while crossing, however, they will meet up as soon as they arrive in the United States. Although, Anais seems to be in denial still since she can’t understand that she isn’t able to take her pet turtle.
After closely looking at the film, the audience can assume that they are a low-income family and they're moving out as a result of their home becoming a vacation home. That morning when the father and daughter prepare to leave their homeland his brother recommends he shave his beard off, which can symbolize that he would have to grow accustomed to the other cultures' prototypes. This can also be interpreted as how he will assimilate to other culture’s traditions. Also, the father was going to be using Anais uncle's passport so they had to look similar to each other. On their way to the airport, the car has a rosary that demonstrates the family’s strong belief in god. At the airport, the author appeals to authority because when preparing to enter the United States they first get searched by those with higher authority and they verify whether their passports are valid. Caracolito then visualizes the detection machine, as a monster with red eyes and a spikey mouth. It was surprising how the separation between her and her turtle enlisted more fear than those of higher authority.
At a young age, you are unaware of the struggles your parents faced when crossing the border. Children when migrating to the United States don't know about what's occurring at the time. Throughout the flight to the United States, Anais has a dream about her and her turtle being separated by the whale. The whale that she fears seems to be standing in between Tiku and her. However, she gains the courage needed and confronts the fear she has for whales. After Anais confronts the whale, it turns out that the whale isn’t bad after all and Anais begins to bond with it. This is significant because it symbolizes how you shouldn’t judge anything by its cover and be open to exploring another culture. This also shares with the audience that you need to confront everything you lay out for yourself even when it feels impossible to accomplish. People can convert their weakness to strengths by simply facing every challenge thrown at you. Even Though we were unaware of her being separated from Tiku we can assume that there will be another barrier she would have to conquer.
Immigrants have been enlisted with fear as a result of having to illegally cross the border to come to the United States. Anais’ father was obligated to lie to the authorities and use his brother's documentation to have access to better opportunities. The father grows in a panic because he's an illegal immigrant using his brother's passport to have the opportunity to live the American dream. Anais' innocence made her not realize the position she had placed her father in for “animal smuggling”. Anais was separated from her turtle, but it brings one much peace that she was able to let her insecurities go with the help of her pet turtle that gives her some kind of closure. After further visualizing, the pet turtle can be a symbolism of her identity and her home because she didn’t want to leave, although she was forced to assimilate to another culture. The message that is shared is that we should follow our hearts even when everything seems like it’s conspiring against us. You need to remain resilient. The ending appeals to pathos because you witness how she finds a source of communication with her family through the shining stars. Anais is a good example of a person that follows her heart which teaches the audiences that you need to put your efforts to try it out. This scene alarms the audience that you should always follow your heart first and have high hopes that everything will turn out for the best.
People throughout time have crossed the border to provide their families with a better lifestyle. Immigrants place their lives in danger in hopes of receiving more opportunities and providing their kids with a better education. The symbolism behind this film is that you shouldn't doubt yourself and remain tenacious to be able to obtain happiness. Immigrants continuously come to the United States in search of more economic opportunities to provide for their families. Immigrants students should continue pressing forward and not let their immigration status affect their dreams. If given the opportunity to better improve your life, you should remain tenacious and not let any barriers interfere. Everyone should listen to their heart and not let the negative thoughts impact you. Where you come from, shouldn’t have a say in living the American dream and always striving to strengthen your potential.