Object 2: American Dirt

May 27, 2021


This book is a fictional novel called American Dirt which has been the subject of controversy since publication in 2019. The novel tells the story of the journey of a Mexican mother and her children to the border of the US after a drug cartel murders the rest of their family.

This novel can be problematic since the story is fictional even though there are millions who have been forced to migrate and have gone through this experience in real life. Moreover, many have questioned whether Jeanine Cummins has the right perspective and information to be able to write and communicate on this subject.

This object enriches this exhibition because it raises the issue of whether people who have not gone through such violent traumas are able to effectively communicate the experience of those who have.

The author does not give any indication of having personally experienced such events or of having interviewed or shared information with anyone who has. Therefore, she could be disseminating knowledge that she may not even have which in turn affects the reliability of her novel.

The object further enriches the exhibition because the knowledge communication should be repre- sented in clearer ways. The novel is written in the perspective of the Mexican mother talking about her feeling during her migration to America. However, when the book’s protagonist is communicat- ing with readers, her language, her thought processes, her beliefs are more akin to those of an American than a Mexican woman. Since the author is American when she writes she has an Ameri- can mindset and perspective.

However, American Dirt is targeting American readers and therefore telling this migrant story in an American ‘voice’ may enhance the ability of the audience to connect and understand the narrative. This perspective helps the dissemination of information since it becomes easier to communicate specific ideas and forms of knowledge that might be understandable to the audience.

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