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Border Codes

Mark Marino, Author

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The Devil's Highway

During the development of the Transborder Immigrant Tool, Carroll encouraged the EDT troop to read Luis Alberto Urrea's creative nonfiction border crossing narrative, The Devil's Highway. Subtitled, "A True Story," the book narrates the travels of 26 border crossers from Mexico to the U.S., only 12 of whom survive.  Carroll has called the book one of the major influences on her writing.  The book begins with men staggering through the desert desperate for water.  Urrea narraties,
They were walking now for water, not salvation. Just a drink.  They whispered it to each other as they staggered into parched pools of their own shadows, forever spilling downhill before them:  Just one drink, brothers.  Water.  Cold water!
Even in this brief example, Urrea builds plight through alliteration of Ws, Ps, and Ss.   Compared to this prose, Carroll's instructions may read as dispassionate, yet the prose styles are not without their affinities.   Like Carroll's multivocal pieces, the use of indirect discourse in this third-person omniscient narration, emphasized by the italics, brings a second voice into the distant description.  The dominant narrative voice is detached despite describing such a desperate scene, rendering the plight of the travelers, at this incipient scene, not from the inside but the outside.
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