Novel and Regina

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The Guardians: Critical Essay

The Guardians by Ana Castillo, is a promising and highly recommended novel set in

times when people were demonized strictly for being brown. It takes place along the

borderlands and in New Mexico where it follows a strong independent woman who is on

a desperate path to find her lost brother Rafa who she believes has been captured by

the coyotes. The story goes into depth during undocumented times when the border

was a fearful place where friends and family were frequently disappearing and woman

are being raped or stolen for their organs. It shows her path towards finding her brother

not only for herself but for the sake of other loved ones. Where disfigured souls attempt

to put themselves back together and search for love once lost. The story is told from

four distinctive perspectives: Regina, who searches for her brother after awaiting his

arrival in the United States. Gabo, Rafa’s 16-year-old son who becomes highly

interested in gang members which give him a strong sense of belonging. Miguel,

Regina’s love interest who seems in search of a confidence boost to approach her.

Then El Abuelo Milton, a difficult and sour viejito who pressures his grandson Miguel

into action. Each character givers their own personal incite on the depth of every

Weber 2

situation and works collectively together for readers to see the broken vision of


Regina was widowed even before she actually married her fiance, and had just nicely

settled into being a teacher’s aide and guardian of Gabo although she knew from now

on life would never quite be the same. She tries to get her brother to permanently stay

with her in the United States but he insists that he will only stay until he has enough

money to build him and his family a house for themselves in Mexico. Regina is clearly

the heart and soul of the novel, making her voice heard among the others and

independently setting out on a search towards redemption. She seems to be skeptical

of religious views of the church yet finds herself in a compassionate hold on people who

have hurt her the most. She is secure in her own skin and acts as though she can play

any role yet deep inside she needs help just as any other individual would. She commits

herself to playing the role of his guardian, both mother and father, yet in reality finds it

hard to commit herself to being tough towards Gabo because he has a mind of his own.

She is a tough defender of her family and property to ensure that nothing happens that

could have been prevented. She struggles to understand Gabo’s way, which applies to

any parent trying to make sense of senseless teenagers. Yet she understands that even

in tough times she must hold herself together to keep the closest thing she has to family

from falling apart. From her ongoing search for her brother Rafa to her realization that

the border treats everyone in a different way. Whether you’re religious views agree or Weber 3

differ. She seems to be a modern heroine along with the help of Miguel and Gabriel to

come upon a coyote’s house in El Paso. It happens to be where the disappeared

women have been forced to stay and unfortunately also the place where her brother

was killed by the coyotes.

Gabriel, the 16-year-old son of Rafa, Regina’s brother is a hard-headed youth with a

mind of his own. Set out to become Christ-like, he dreams of an eventual life in the

clergy where his mind set will allow him to preach on others with the same religious

view of life. With his strong life values Regina tries to talk him out of his bad choice of

friends but soon comes to...
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