Paul Flores uses neo-realist techniques in Along the Border Lies to interrogate the notion

that border violence is a residual effect of the socioeconomic modernization along the Tijuana-

San Diego border.

Example of conclusion on Legit Essay Writing

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On the surface, this text shows that the tension between the free market logic

of NAFTA on the one hand, and the security imperatives of the U.S. border patrol on the other,

invariably result in border violence, specifically, vigilanteism and cartel-ordered assassinations.

Undocumented immigrants of course cannot pass through government-regulated checkpoints so

they must find alternate routes, which in this text is the San Ysidro canyon, an area that for

Alfredo is inconveniently too close to home. Further, the Border Patrol’s inability to realize its

security protocols, according to Alfredo, justifies his murder of border crossers. On the other side

of the border in Tijuana, Miranda is quick to join Los Reyes drug cartel even while she is aware

of their brutality, and only tries to defect when her life is at stake. In either case, whether in San

Diego or Tijuana, border violence is directly tied to the present-day configuration of the border

as a point of convergence between capitalism and state security. At bottom, however, this

formulation is undone through the lack of closure across the character sections. No doubt the plot

of Alfredo’s narrative is resolved in that he is caught by the authorities for his crime and faces

imprisonment. Yet his obsession with safeguarding the border actually turns out to be the marked

emphasis on a history which he unknowingly figured. Thus, while the narrative arc of living on

the present-day Tijuana-San Diego border is completed, its conclusion suggests that the story of

Alfredo’s mission be situated in the 19th century. Miranda’s narrative, on the other hand, is

tellingly open-ended as she heads away from the border and turns north while Edgar waits for an

arrest that is in limbo. Flores therefore shows that although the new breed of traffickers who

retain U.S. and Mexican citizenship capitalize on the present-day configuration of the borderline,

a more careful discerning of the relation between drug trafficking and immigration necessitates a

recognition of how social processes in Baja California do not unfold along an axis of capitalist

development but are rather emergent in the trans-border modernities of Tijuana-San Diego.

Whereas the foregrounding of these peripheral modernities allows for illuminating the

lifeworlds of the Tijuana-San Diego border, in The Guardians Castillo shows how the

normalization of violence persists in the absence of a historical framework limited to the 21st

century and the episteme that the southwestern border is always already there. In staging the

critical impasse of analyzing border violence as a readily defined social reality of the 21st

century, the novel foregrounds the limitations of suppressing the border’s trans-temporality. As a

result, in the fictional world of the characters, the present-day real life of the border is one in

which people simply vanish without explanation. Regina is harassed to make payment to coyotes

who later deny any knowledge about Rafa and never bother to ask for money again; Miguel is

threatened with a ransom note—“A THUOSAND DOLLARS FOR YOUR WIFE. DON’T

CALL THE POLIC”—by kidnappers who never collect their ransom. While Crucita is

eventually found, there is no clear motive for her abduction, and Regina only learns that Rafa

died in El Paso but not why. Thus, in the novel the forms of violence are somehow

interconnected but without a definable motive, beginning or end. In New Mexico and Texas,

reality is purportedly “[i]nnocent gente disappearing into thin air,” as Abuelo Milton states (197).

Yet Castillo’s fiction challenges the nature of this reality and suggests that it may even be

alterable. In the final words of the novel Regina states, “[t]he thing about those bad videos they

make about our lives out here is that you can rewind. Like, you can rewind to just before

someone beautiful dies. And press stop. You can’t do that in real life” (211). Regina’s comments

about stopping time like in a movie is less a fantasy than a critical imperative. She is speaking

not of the ability to manipulate time but the cessation of a pernicious historical disavowal: until

there is serious recognition of the southwestern border’s trans-temporality and thus an awareness

of the historical context in which the border was and continues to be imposed, border violence

will play on.

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