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Lost Children Archive: Our Background is Our Saviour

The last half of Lost Children Archive was bitter-sweet for me. I knew that this would be the final chapters of this class yet was excited to uncover the final messages of Luiselli’s book.I continued reading and found one resounding concept pour through the pages: our beliefs, no matter where they come from, allow us to persevere against life’s most difficult moments. Through the children’s harsh travel, it especially hints at how previous experiences (through the stories told and songs heard) plays a crucial role in that perseverance.

The boy and girl’s travel in the scorching desert tells of the odds of survival being stacked against them, however, their dogmas and previous experiences allowed them to hold on and ultimately survive. Swift Feather and Memphis, names which they had been influenced by their Father’s stories are not simply name-tags, but represent a deeper connection to one another and to their parents, who they long to return back to. The names allow for a heartfelt connection (especially between the siblings) as beforehand names were never mentioned; lacking feelings of intimate relations. The bond between names also relates to their connection to their parents, as they had both received names as well (Lucky Arrow and Papa Cochise). On their journey, through their repeated use of calling each other by their “Apache” name, they reinforce the connection between them and their parents, allowing them to brave the desert and survive. The final point relating to names is the use of Major Tom and Ground Control taken from Space Oddity where by addressing each other with those names allows them to feel safe and secure back to a time their survival wasn’t threatened; in the car. Use of the names, subconsciously transports their lives full of hardship to good times had in the car, not having a care in the world.

Lost Children Archive really hits a chord with me. Originally I did not like the book, but through more thorough analysis and understanding the bigger picture, I would gladly read this book again. There are many subtle details in Lusielli’s novel. Whether about the fleetingness of love or the importance of one’s history, this book unpacks philosophical issues while at the same time tackling a pressing contemporary problem; the forgotten and disregarded stories of refugee children.

So long and farewell everyone! It was a pleasure to write these blog posts and interact with all your thought-provoking insights. I’ll miss you SPAN 322 Blog, but I’m sure you won’t be forgotten!

See everyone tomorrow!

-Curtis HR

One thought on “Lost Children Archive: Our Background is Our Saviour

  1. Curtis, many thanks for this blog post and for all your contributions to the class, both in person and online. Your certainly have never been short of “thought-provoking insights” for the rest of us.

    I really like the positive message you have taken from this book. I’m not sure I’m 100% convinced, but perhaps in the end I’d say that one of the great things about this book is that it is balanced on a knife-edge between affirmation and mourning, between (say) anger and love.

    I also like what you have to say about the importance of names here. That was something that really stuck out for me, and is one of the many themes I wish we had had the time to discuss at more length. And the ways in which the novel uses “Space Oddity” (another song I absolutely love, and have done forever) is also fascinating: it is, as you say, comforting and familiar, and helps the kids out of a tricky situation, enabling them to communicate almost beneath the level of ordinary discourse; and yet of course it is also a song about alienation and loss, abandonment and being alone in the universe.

    Ashes to ashes, Funk to funky, We know Major Tom’s a Junky…


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