Writing Catalog

Marley Rossen

Grade: 8

Laurel School

Instructor: Kate Webb

Refugee Theme Essay

Critical Essay

Refugee Theme Essay

If you hold on to hope you might find it. In the book Refugee by Alan Gratz, there are three characters, Mahmoud, Josef, and Isabel. These three characters are refugees trying to escape their destroyed homes to find a better life. These kids face many challenges on their journey but the one thing they held onto was hope.

One reason hope was a big part of this book was because Mahmoud and Isabel held onto hope, so they found their new homes. When Isabel's family and the Castillos reached their new home, "Señor Castillo fell to his knees and kissed the ground. They had made it to the states. To freedom" (298). When Isabel, her family, and the Castillos made it to Florida they were so happy and thankful that they finally made it to their new lives/home after their tragic journey that sr Castillo even kissed the ground because of his excitement. When Mahmoud and his family reached Germany They realized "This strange, frightening, exciting place was to be Mahmoud's new home"(310). Even though Mahmoud says Germany was strange and frightening, the fact that he called it exciting shows that he still had hope, that it would be his home, and that he and his family could make a new life there. So this proves that by holding onto hope he was able to find it.

My second reason hope was a big part of this book is that if Josef did not hold on to hope he would not have continued his journey even if it did not end the way he expected. Josef and his family's journey to Cuba was driven by hope: "They were all going to Cuba to escape Nazis and now that they were finally away from the threats and violence that followed them everywhere in Germany" (57). This shows how Josef started thinking of what his new life would look like even though it did not end up happening and he made it so far because of hope. Even though he did not survive his journey, Josef never stopped imagining his new life in Havana: "Josef had been nervous about Cuba at first, scared of the unknown, but now he was excited to reach Havana, to start a new life especially if it was like this" (129-130). Even though his journey did not end up the way he expected, he never stopped hoping. If you hold on to hope, there is no guarantee you will succeed, but the fact that you might succeed is enough to keep some people going. In conclusion that is why hope was an important part of the book Refugee. Without hope, there would be no journey for the characters because hope is what motivated them throughout the book. When I think about everything that the characters had to go through and how they never gave up hope, it makes me realize that no matter what hardships I face in my own life, I should never lose hope, because that is what keeps all of us going.