Poem Analysis: Child of the Americas

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Privilege or Burden?
When you think of America and being an American citizen, would you consider it a privilege or a burden? In the poems “Child of the Americas” written by Aurora Levins Morales, she describes being an American as a privilege to be celebrated. Meanwhile, in the other poem “The Unknown Citizen” written by W.H. Auden, argues that it is a burden we must bare. Both poems have a unique and different approach to the complexities of our American Identity as they discuss the voice and tone of the speaker, the concept of citizenship, and the assimilation vs. acculturation to make their case.

“Child of the Americas” is a poem about an American who came from a mixture of various cultures that comprise her heritage, and her identity as an American. Aurora Levins Morales was born in Indiera Baja, Puerto Rico. Her mother, Rosario Morales, was a Puerto Rican, born in Harlem and her father is an ecologist who is of Ukrainian Jewish heritage, born in Brooklyn. With Morales title you can see she makes the word America plural “Americas” this means the poem is not only referring to the United States, but the whole continent. Through out the poem it describes America as a combination of everything and everywhere mix into one. Also, the word crossroads is referred to Puerto Rico because even though it is an American territory when you go the states to live you are still considered an immigrant. Which most would consider it a burden, but to the writer it is fine because she feels that everyone has background that they should embrace. “The Unknown Citizen” is a poem about the soldiers and citizens that remains were not identified or found, and the government considered them as the unknown citizen. W.H Auden writes this poem with a lot of satire (irony and sarcasm).Auden’s work is noted for its literary and technical achievements in engaging with moral and political issues, and its variety of tone, most of his poem centrals around political and citizenship. In this particular poem it is more of a monotone, satire poem describing all those unknown citizen that were never found and how the government claimed to know everything because of records. The government found all these records, but no one knew if these citizens were really happy or unhappy. The poem is for those unknown soldiers or people that do nothing wrong and always follow the pattern. At the end they are all just known as the unknown citizen because they did nothing that would make them stand out from the rest. This poem refers to being an American citizen as a burden we must bare. Morales’ voice and tone throughout the poem is assertive and repetitive in many ways. In the poem it shows how she is sure of whom she is by saying, “I am a child of the Americas” (1). Morales define herself as a child of the Americas because she is not only the child of America, but of all the different heritages and countries that her family is from. By putting that in her first line it is easy to see how she is strong and knows exactly what she is as a person. Morales repeats by say, “I am a U.S. Puerto Rican Jew” with no hesitation the writer states how she is not only a United States citizen, but a Puerto Rican and a Jew, it is easy to conclude that she doesn’t not like to be considered by only one title (4).Another example of her assertiveness are displayed in lines 15- 16, “I am not African. Africa is in me, but I cannot return. /I am not taίna. Taίno is in me, but there is no way back. /I am not European. Europe lives in me, but I have no home there.” These three lines indicate how once again she is proud of her different backgrounds because no one is only pure American but a mixture of different countries. Just like the first line that begins with the words “I am” she starts to repeat that all the way through the rest of the poem as well as “I”. The writer knows that she has many ethnicities, but also can admit she doesn’t know those countries or ethnicities as well as she...
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