Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory
We get to see a lot of America through Sal's eyes. We dip our toes in Lake Michigan, we stay at a Howard Johnson motel, we get lost trying to drive across Chicago, we eat delicious things in Madison, we go swimming in a river in South Dakota, we see the Badlands, Mount Rushmore, Old Faithful… the list goes on. How do we feel about what we see? Do these landmarks make us feel proud? Ashamed? Ambivalent? Sometimes, these landmarks seem gorgeous and full of wonder. Other times they seem dangerous and fraught with negative history, like Mount Rushmore. Sal learns about history and about her country as she goes in search of her mother, but ultimately her journey across the country is a journey of self-discovery.