Aaron: Carrying Guilt
Explore themes from Aaron's point of view as the youngest son of a mixed-status family and a Marine.
Aaron's mom is deported for a second time right as he begins high school.
We see him grapple with a number of difficulties that are common for children of undocumented or deported parents. Immigration psychiatrists see these difficulties manifest in mental health issues such as anxiety, depression, insecurity, withdrawal, and a propensity to act out in social settings.
At least 25% of children in the U.S. grow up with undocumented family members or in mixed-status families.
Tours of Duty
Aaron enlists as a Marine to help his family. After several tours of duty, he comes home a changed man. While it's never named in the play, 11-20% of veterans suffer from PTSD. Though the circumstances change, emotional trauma stays a prevalent factor in Aaron's life.
We see Aaron cope with the lingering effects of growing up in a mixed-status family, and later, his deployment as a Marine.
What do we owe our families? Have you made a sacrifice for your family? How does that impact your life?
What Does Guilt Do to Us?
Aaron's sense of duty to his family leads him to the Marines, even though enlisting has been Christian's lifelong dream. He's always looking out for others (even small animals), and carries a lot of guilt that he can't do more to help.
Guilt takes a toll on our bodies as well as our minds. Stress chemicals are released into our body when we experience feelings of guilt, which can lead to headaches and backaches in the short term, and put you at risk for cardiovascular disease and gastrointestinal disorders in the longterm.
Guilt is not only a difficult emotion to process, it can have lasting physical effects, too.
So much of Aaron's identity is shaped by his family dynamic. What's the relationship between your family and your identity? Help students develop a deeper understanding of the complex and fluid nature of identity.