Formalist Criticism on "Waiting on the Curb: Lynwood California, 1967"

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  • Topic: Straight Outta Lynwood, Debut albums, Shorts
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Marquetta Brown
Eng 241
J. Zeff
Formalist Criticism

The poem ‘Waiting oat the curb: Lynwood California, 1967 written by Deborah Escobedo is about a young girl named Debbie in Lynwood, California who is waiting on a friend at the curb. When first examining the title of the poem, I think of waiting on the curb as a sign of prostitution or hitchhiking. They way I imagine the scene of the poem is; a hot summer day in an urban area in Lynwood, California. I imagine Debbie’s father outside a small white house watering the lawn. In the poem the characters were Debbie, mother, father, neighbor, a friend, and America. Even though the friend and America didn’t have lines in the poem the still had an effect on how the poem was interpreted.

When I analyze and picture Debbie’s father, I see an older, overweight, lower middle class gentleman. I see him standing on the front lawn watering the grass with a white T-shirt on and denim shorts on. The father seems to be a very relaxed individual. “His law, the one green he can count on. He can’t count /On his money, or his Dodgers slipping on the green/. By the author saying that he can’t count on his money shows that he may have some financial troubles. Also in examining those two lines of the poem about the father, they give more insight about the father’s possessions. The word his is capitalized when it refers to “His lawn”, but not when is refers to “his Dodgers”. While reviewing the personality of the father and his relationship with his daughter, “Maybe he could speak his mind about decency”. Ordinarily id a father had to question what his daughter was wearing he would have stopped her immediately. Instead of him stopping her and telling her to go change her clothes, he “…rolls the garden hose/Onto the sling of his arm. Debbie, where are you going/With no clothes on?” Debbie says, “Dad, this is how it is”. The dad doesn’t say or do anything.

In conducting a character analysis of Debbie, she...
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