37 pages 1 hour read

Reyna Grande

Across A Hundred Mountains

Fiction | Novel | YA | Published in 2006

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Symbols & Motifs

The White Rosary

When Apá first leaves to cross the border, he carries a white rosary with heart-shaped beads with him. Juana later uses the white rosary as a way to identify her father, asking coyotes if they’ve seen it. When Juana finally finds Apá’s body, he still has the white rosary. Many characters turn to religion for protection, and Apá did the same when he carried the rosary with him on his journey. However, it didn’t protect him, and he died attempting to cross the border. Nevertheless, finding the white rosary provides comfort and closure to Juana. Even though Juana has her own doubts about religion, she carries the rosary with her when she returns to the village as an adult to visit Amá, and turns to it as a source of comfort. When José Alberto comes to tell Juana that he knows the truth about their family, Juana “nervously ran her fingers over each bead of the rosary, mumbling an Our Father under her breath” (252). Even though the white rosary didn’t protect Apá, it becomes an item that connects Juana to her family by the end of the novel.