Comparison Essay

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Comparison of Julia Alvarez’s “Queens,1963” and Tato Laviera’s “AmeRican”

Both Julia Alvarez and Tato Laviera come from countries and cultures that are looked down upon by many people. Though each of their poems portray dramatically different points of view. In Julia Alvarez’s poem the girl she describes (herself) seems suppressed, she does what she can to fit in even if it means not doing something that she otherwise might have done. In Tato Laviera’s poem he is very positive and hopeful, he has come here to make a better life for him and his family and even though he is oppressed because of his skin color and culture he creates a new equality for himself and others.

In Alvarez's poem, she and her family suppress themselves. They suppress themselves by their new way of living:
Everyone seemed more American
than we, newly arrived,
foreign dirt still on our soles.
By year's end, a sprinkler waving
like a flag on our mowed lawn,
we were blended into the block, (1-5)
These images reveal the suppression. You can see by simply reading this passage that the author is oppressed by her surroundings, by the new way of life her family must live. And yet, she can do nothing more than further suppress herself.

Laviera's poem offers a completely different view point, by almost singing every line in your head.
we gave birth to a new generation,
AmeRican, broader than the lost gold
never touched, hidden inside the
Puerto Rican mountains. (1-4)
The author speaks of a type of freedom that includes everyone equally “a new generation” (5). Everyone at peace with each other. Everyone treated in the same loving way. Getting rid of the separation by “spitting out the poison and malice”.

Both poems have very different points of view, yet the stories are closely tied together. Each author has experienced similar treatment being an outsider. They have both had to deal with hatred and discrimination, and have had to adapt to a...
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