Journey of Dreams
Discussion Questions and Writing Prompts
Fight or Flight
Tomasa’s family had to make difficult decisions about whether to stay or leave their ancestral home.
- What circumstances pushed Tomasa’s family to flee?
- When have you had to decide whether fighting or backing away was the best strategy?
Then and Now:
Then—Tomasa lived in a tight-knit family in a village surrounded by people and an environment she had known her whole life.
Now— She is in a strange country, with a drastically different climate, learning to communicate in a new language, trying to understand new customs, and not sure what to expect, or how the stories she will hear from her mother and brother will affect her future.
We all move from one place to another, whether it’s moving from one country to another, or one house or apartment to another. We all move from one age to another, one level of competency to another. Maybe for you the change is something like: Then I could only go to home and school by myself. Now I can bike or bus wherever I want or need to go….
- What journeys have you taken?
- What passages have you traveled through?
- Were there places where you reached a plateau— where you were stopped from moving forward like Tomasa and her family were when they had to wait in Mexico City?
- What helped you finally move ahead or continue on your way? What helped you adapt?
Daydreams—One of Tomasa’s daydreams was to have everything back the way it was. She longed for a return to innocence, a time when life was simple.
- What else did Tomasa hope for? Could these hopes be realized?
- How about you? What do you want to happen more than anything?
- What keeps you from realizing your dream?
- What steps, if any, might you take to move towards that hope?
Night Dreams—Tomasa’s night dreams were a vivid projection of her day’s events and worries.
- Are there images that linger from any of Tomasa’s dreams?
- Do you have a recurring dream?
- Do you remember one from childhood?
- Is there a recent one that stuck?
- Have you interpreted any of your night dreams? What are your interpretations?
Tomasa had her share of disappointments.
- What were some of Tomasa’s disappointments?
- What disappointments have you experienced?
- Do you feel differently now than you did when you first experienced them?
Tomasa’s family experienced extreme danger. Her grandmother died in the field and Tomasa worried about her mother and brother. Her own life was threatened in the field and on the river. The threat of danger haunted her for a long time.
- How did Tomasa overcome her fears?
- Do you ever fear danger? When? What strategies [did] do you use to help yourself?
Tomasa was acutely aware of the colors that surrounded her—fists of yarn, threads, fabrics, crops, forest, flowers, blood.
- What value does our culture give to color?
- What colors pop up in your life?
- What value do they have for you?
- What colors would be important to you if you were in as much danger as Tomasa?
Use the clustering or web technique with one of the colors you chose. Put the color in the center of a piece of paper and circle it. Write words around the color, that they makes you think of and connect the words to the color with a line. From those words, draw lines to other words that those secondary words make you think of. Keep going until you feel a switch and you know a story or scene you’d like to write about.
Folktales celebrate wisdom. Folktales can suggest an origin of survival strategies, metaphors about how people survive difficult situations. For example, how owls and panthers came to see in the dark, or why snakes have a rattle. One of the oldest folktales known is about a large cat that lived in the protection of the forest. The story speaks to the critical nature of living organisms working together.
Read a folk tale like Soft Child: How Rattle Snake Got Its Fangs. Brainstorm survival strategies that an animal possesses. Choose one strategy and write a story from the point of view of the animal, and tell the story of how you received your survival strategy, or how your culture might hand down a survival strategy.
Tomasa learned from elders and teachers, from books and what she saw. Tomasa read the newspaper, but she also listened to eye-witnesses and discovered that the newspaper and the people didn’t always tell the same story. When people in the Sanctuary Movement were arrested, she didn’t understand everything that was happening or how what was happening would impact her family. She wasn’t sure she trusted everything she read.
- How about you? Have you ever read something that you found out later wasn’t true?
- Did you ever hold an opinion that changed? Why did your opinion change?
- How can you test information? How can you find out if information you have is correct?
- What is media literacy? How could it be import for you?