Legal Alien

Topics: Mexican American, United States, Hispanic and Latino Americans Pages: 2 (462 words) Published: April 18, 2008
Legal Alien

The poem “Legal Alien” by Pat Mora is in the open poem form, it has no stanzas. It does have a few words that rhyme which are “English” (5) and “Spanish” (6) and also with “Mexicans” (14) and then with “Americans” (15). The poem also has rhythm, it is a low steady beat. It is a straightforward poem about how life is for a person with the same race/ethnicity as others and at the same time, different from others.

The poem “Legal Alien” is about a woman of Mexican parents, who is born and raised in America. An American citizen established by law, but at the same time this person feels like an illegal alien because of how some people treat her. She is fluent in both, English and in Spanish. Feels American because she is, but at the same time she doesn’t. She is looked at by Americans (Anglos) as inferior, and looked at by Mexicans like she doesn’t belong. They make her feel like she is not one of them, like she doesn’t fit anywhere. “An American to Mexicans a Mexican to Americans a handy token sliding back and forth between the fringes of both worlds” (14-18).– What this means is that she feels like she could be from both places and at the same time from neither, but on the border of each. Happy, sad, confused, lost but at the same time she tries to cover all her feelings and what she is thinking “by masking the discomfort” (20) is that she has to grin and bear the fact that she is being condemned for having two nationalities.

After reading this poem over and over I can say that I have felt what the speaker mentions in the poem, I have been in her shoes. Yes it’s hard to believe but if you think about it we are all different and at the same time we are all the same. For some people it is hard to accept people of different nationality, but the only thing we can do is to move on. I am Mexican American, also bilingual, with two different cultures, born in America with Mexican parents.

I think this poem “Legal Alien” is a little about...
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