The Money

Being an immigrant from any country can have its troubles and issues. Junot Diaz’s essay, “The Money,” is a perfect example to the immigrant experience. Inside his essay, he discusses three broad themes of poverty, family, and justice, to which all are perfectly illustrated.

Diaz’s family struggled from moving from the Dominican Republic to the U.S., trying to make as much money as they could. His mom didn’t have a job other than looking after him and his siblings while his dad didn’t have a consistent forklifting job. Because of such a low income, they lived inside a dodgy neighborhood where it was common to have your home and car broken into. If you were an unlucky one, the police never cared to come or try to arrest anyone who did it. You were supposed to carry on with your life like nothing happened. Diaz even discussed that if he were caught burglarizing and he had lived in a suburban neighborhood, he would have been arrested, but not in his neighborhood. Many in poverty live like this today and it becomes a norm for them to have events such as these to happen.

Although his family struggles in poverty, they still stayed strong as one family keeping their morals strong. One very common action of immigrants is to send money home to their family and loved ones to make sure that they were okay. Diaz’s mom would do so make sure that they would not “starve to death.” She would send any money she could salvage for them each month. One summer, Diaz’s father decided to go on a vacation where they slept in the van and discovered what they could about their new home. However, once back, they found that their apartment was broken into and all the money was stolen that was supposed to be his grandparent’s money. Soon after finding out, Diaz found it and had debated on saving it for himself or returning it to his mom. In the end, he stayed loyal to his family and returned it safely to his mom. Family morals were held very tightly to the Diaz family, making sure that truth, loyalty, and love were strong.

In the end of the story comes a small piece of justice for Diaz. After being robbed by someone and being blamed for it all, he became almost a little detective. When his mom said it was because of him and his siblings mouthing off to their friends, it clicked in his head that it was his friends. They were suspicious about the whole incident, and that was when he decided he needed to get the money back. Diaz created a whole scheme to lure them into the community pool and sneak out the bathroom door to where he could come back in. Once he did, he found the money in the same exact envelope under his friend’s mattress. After he collected the money, it was announced to his friend that his place was robbed the next day. All the money was safely brought back to his apartment, with only just a little bit spent of the $300.

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The money. (2021, May 19). Retrieved August 10, 2022 , from

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