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Literature

By | April 2013
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Analysis of Pat Mora's "La Migra"

Pat Mora's "La Migra" is a poem presenting two speakers, one female and one male, who are playing the game "La Migra" which means "border patrol agents". Mora creates a snapshot of the dangers of living near the Mexican border through the narrators' "game". The poem is written with childish language, but includes ambiguity of whether the players are children approaching a disturbingly mature theme or whether they're adults trying to minimize the stress of the situation. Despite both interpretations being decently supported by the text, I support the first for a few key reasons.

The piece is broken into two parts, I and II, which clearly defines there being two speakers. Each section presents a different version of the same game-the first is from the masculine perspective where the female is "the Mexican maid" (3) whom he can sexually assault because he has boots, handcuffs, and a gun (15-17). The second is the female perspective where, despite the patrol man's power, his "jeep has a flat" (22) and he doesn't speak Spanish so he's unable to interpret the woman saying where there is water.

Straightforwardly the speakers present themselves as young since they're playing a game. Furthermore, there's the hesitation of the boy not knowing exactly his weapons beyond his masculinity. He shows this saying, "Oh, and [I have] a gun" (17). Because of his age he doesn't completely understand the sexuality he's mentioning. Instead of referring to assault he minimizes it to the ability to touch her wherever he wants. This also shows a child's curiosity of the anatomy of the opposite sex.

Readers may interpret the speakers as adult because of the intense subject matter. However, children are more aware of violence than they should be and I don't think it's unlikely for them to play a sexualized game. Our society is widely conservative and desexualizes children, but that's not necessarily true. Therefore this poem is a good...
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