The Devil's Highway: A Novel by Amy Tan

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a) The characters are the walkers and Collins the player for part A in the introduction

b) The setting is Mexico, the desert, and the US as a country for part B in the introduction

c) The events that characterize the challenges walkers faced and the resistance Collins endured portray the plot for part C in the opening.

America today has experienced a great deal of positive impact done by people who are instead considered as rebels. These are the people who have gone their way against mainstream American norms. They have expressed their views independently, a tradition that has caused a big rift between revolutionists and people who are conservative and do not heed on new happenings that are against the way society is used to operate. The society deals with these rebels in the story in a similar manner in America today.

The walkers were running from a harsh life in their home country of Mexico. Their wages were very low to sustain a family. Mendes worked legitimately at a factory in Nogales, Sonora where he made tiles. The payments were very low to maintain his family a factor that pushed him to smuggling business (Urrea 70). Though this was not the only way he could sustain his life, it shows the challenges faced by people in Mexico that pushed the walkers to take the deadly risk. Nobody realizes the challenges they face until they made the desperate move. The survivors are met with harsh reactions by police who interrogate them at the hospital. Urea says "cops did not scare anybody" (Urrea 185). They (police) flex, grunt and talk tough to the walkers in a bid to intimidate them. This shows how America society has been harsh on people who go against the mainstream American norms. At the end of the story, the walkers are seen as heroes and are welcome in America. The American society does not consider the challenges one has gone through as ones which might have pushed them to take the decision.

In America today, Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49 years quarterback, in the year 2016, knelt during the playing of the National Anthem in protest of oppression of black people and people of color by the state (Wyche, Steve 3). This was seen as an unpatriotic act, and it led to the dismissal of Kaepernick from the NFL. This clearly shows American society intolerance towards people who rebel. They do not consider circumstances that lead to their disapproval of the dogmatic culture. When the athlete protested the dismissal, United States President dismissed it as a petty issue.

Secondly, there is the use of symbolism to convey a message. Collins is seen as a man who influences positive impact and gets admired by people who support him. In Amy Tan's book “Fish Cheeks,” the miniskirt is used to symbolize understanding of inner self. Tan wears it, and it goes against the popular belief by the Chinese community (Tan, Amy 23). This got her admired by her people and far beyond. She gets accepted in American society. Setting portrays a similar move as the ones experienced in America Today. Colins Kaerpeniick kneeling during the singing of National Anthem shows dissatisfaction and rebellion against mistreatment of blacks by the police. This is aimed at reaching a goal of the players being heard and their grievances being met through respect for blacks and people of color (Lipsyte, Robert 4). The setting becomes clear as other players join him in support as many more players kneel during the National Anthem and there is further victimization of Collins. This attracts the attention of the President, and he even tweets about it in disapproval. He advises Collins to look for another country if he feels dissatisfied by the United States. This essays exhaustively discuss how the rebels (the walkers) were not allowed to change the culture of daily norms in the “The Devils Highway,” just as one Colin Kaepernick, the present day athlete; faces resistance to going against the American dogma today.

Characters in the story “The Devils Highway” (the walkers) share a similar behavior with the likes of LeBron in America today. They show resilience in advance for what they believe in. They are pushed for the desire to change a life that they are ready to face consequences that come their way. This is a big show of strength as they have to meet resistance because what they are pursuing is against what it has existed for decades. Urrea says that experts could not give a definitive schedule to doom (Urrea 120). The writer shows that walkers were ready to face all the challenges that were there to be met. They could never plan enough to ensure their safety was guaranteed. However, they continued with their journey even when they felt like they were lost. This determination kept them strong in the desert even when some lost their loved ones. Jose Antonio Bautista says, “with enchantments and deceptions; they led us" (Urrea 145). This shows how walkers were furious with their leaders like Mendes, but there was little they could do. At the end of the story, the walkers appear victorious when they are rescued and treated at American hospitals. The bodies of those who lost their lives in the desert are flown to Mexico and escorted by Mexican leaders. On the contrary, Colins Kaepernick kneels during the singing of the National Anthem.

When asked by a journalist why he did so, he answers that he cannot stand for a flag that oppresses black people and people of color. He further elaborates that if rights of blacks are respected, he has no issue standing. He gets furious with the media for calling those who protested the oppression of blacks by police through sitting during the national anthem as "anthem protestors." This term demeaned the cause of rebellion as Collins, and his supporters were not entirely against the anthem, but they wanted to pass a message. His actions bore fruits and got the attention of the entire nation. President Trump tweets about it though in disapproval. Actions of Collins make him admired and seen as a hero for standing for what he believes in. Though he is dismissed from NPL, he battles the dismissal in court showing his aggression and fighting spirit for what he believes in. He is seen as a hero in athlete activism. He was presented with Muhammad Ali legacy award in 2017 by Beyoncé. The former quarterback formed Players Coalition that has promoted players interests. Kaepernick appears on the cover of Time magazine with the headline "The Perilous Fight." Therefore, both the walkers in "The Devils Highway" and Collins in today's American society share similar characteristics of rebelling against dogmatic norms in society.

The setting in two scenarios is similar because it is characterized by resistance and overwhelming critics for the revolutionists. In "The Devils Highway" for instance, the setting is both in Mexico and across the desert toward a land of opportunities; America. The setting for the athlete revolutionist is in America, but more precisely on the basketball court. Nevertheless, because Collins was kneeling while the National Anthem was singing, the setting can be said to be across the nation and more precisely in the hearts of all spectators of the game across the world. In "The Devils Highway," setting has been made real through symbolism. Symbols are used to show a bigger picture as symbols in the modern world. Tan gets fascinated by American boy Roberts that she focuses it all on getting his attention. She is determined to attract him that she changes some standard things in her Chinese to a point that she almost forgets about herself. Noticing that, her mother gives her a gift that depicts a bigger picture and a message that keeps her grounded on her Chinese culture. She advised her to follow her American way but still maintain her Chinese in her (Tan 2). In America today, the setting, and thus the symbolism can be seen through kneeling of Colins Kaepernick as a symbol to show displeasure with the state on how it treats blacks and people of color (Lipsyte, Robert 7). The actions are not against patriotism but are basically used to pass a message to his audience; a people who adore the American flag; the Nation.

Setting in the story is similar to those in real America Today as they employ similar tactics to counter the people who rebel the mainstream norms. When walkers are being treated at the hospital, police who are interrogating them talk tough on them to intimidate them. They flex and grunt in a way to threaten the walkers. There incidences where the walkers had to change direction to avoid border patrols. This shows the challenges and difficulties rebels have to meet. America today does all it can to prevent and maintain mainstream norms regardless of the consequences the actions have on the rebels, just like the walkers received admiration after making it through though they had faced resistance before. In America today, Collins Kaerpenick sitting and later kneeling during the national anthem gets instant disapproval from NPL management to President Donald Trump, who at the time was vying for the presidency. This shows how adversity can go a long way to achieving ones set goals no matter the challenges faced (Turkewitz, J 5). Therefore, the environment which dictates the setting in both the novel and present-day America is characterized by a hostile reception to "rebels."

Finally, the plot in both the walkers' situation in "The Devils Highway" and for the case of Collins in the modern American society sets the pace for what actions happen in two scenarios. The plot shows how rebels use rebellion as a way of communicating a point they feel society is going against. Rebellions are not aimed at hurting society norms nor does they work to disapprove beliefs of others. Rebels are often admired by the community and are treated with respect and admiration. Their rebellion is often for the better. Colins Kaerpenick uses kneeling during the national anthem as a way of expressing displeasure with the victimization of black and people of color by police. His actions face resistance at first, but eventually, he gets an audience from family members to players and the president himself. This greatly shows that rebellion is not entirely harmful to the ways of society but can be used to mean good to the society and even to those who are opposed to it. The stories much relate to America Today showing how rebellion has been treated over the years. Though it is faced with challenges at the start, rebels' get admiration later from society; affirming the understanding that change comes by making an extreme effort against resistance.

Works Cited

Lipsyte, Robert. Sportsworld: An American Dreamland. Rutgers University Press, 2018.

Tan, Amy. "Fish Cheeks." The Brief Bedford Reader (2003).

Turkewitz, J. "Protest started by Colin Kaepernick spreads to high school students." New York Times (2016).

Urrea, Luis Alberto. The devil's highway: A true story. Back Bay Books, 2008.

Wyche, Steve. "Colin Kaepernick explains why he sat during the national anthem." 27 (2016).

August 21, 2023


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