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Place and Displacement

Icon of a landscape in El Salvador showing a mountain and trees

The Weight of All Things features the landscape of El Salvador and highlights the effects of war on the land and the people.



The natural environments and physical landscapes of El Salvador figure prominently in The Weight of All Things. As you read, carefully note when and how the story describes the landscapes, terrains, and places that the characters care for, remember, traverse, and inhabit. To learn more about the geography and landscapes of El Salvador visit this Wiki page on the geography of El Salvador.


The Weight of All Things is a story of forced displacement, of people fleeing the homes and places they love because of conflict, violence, and insecurity caused by a civil war. Migration and movement have impacted family life for Salvadorans for much of the 20th century—perhaps this is why Sandra Benítez frequently mentions ordinary objects like boots and shoes throughout the story.

For a summary of some of the primary causes of forced displacement and migration in El Salvador in the 20th century and in the present, read “El Salvador: Civil War, Natural Disasters, and Gang Violence Drive Migration,” by Cecilia Menjívar and Andrea Gómez Cervantes. Like Nicolás, there are many young Salvadorans who are migrants today, and globally we are in the midst of worldwide population shifts due to religious persecution and political violence. American Christians continue to wrestle with how to respond faithfully to this global reality, and this podcast considers ways the church could help navigate those difficult conversations.

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