Gary Soto's "A Red Palm" 2004
When a person hears the title "A Red Palm" there are many things that come to mind. One could either think of a red palm tree, or more realistically, the strained palm of ones hand. After just reading through this poem a person feels as if they begin to know the man who is spoken about. One can relate to him because most Americans work very hard for a living. Similarly, most Americans do not work hard because they enjoy it, but work hard because they feel the need to. Unfortunately money does not grow on trees; to earn money one must work hard, and Soto shows this to the reader. The poem "A Red Palm" written by Gary Soto is a poem that portrays the everyday man and his struggle to succeed.
The first stanza of this poem sets up the scenery and the tone for the poem. It is about a man who works in cotton fields for a living. This leads one to assume that the setting is on a farm in a rural area. The man lives on this cotton field farm with his wife and sons. The dream of cotton fields Soto speaks about could be interpreted two ways. The man could literally dream of his cotton plants at night because he spends so much time there. On the other hand, the author could be using the word "dream" to help the reader imagine them being the person in this poem.
Next there is the second stanza of this poem, which is the longest of the three. The character speaks about the sun being a "red blister" coming up in your palm. One could assume working in the sun and heat is blistering and Soto is using this metaphor to signify how strenuous the work is. On the other hand, working in fields could also cause the blister upon the characters palm. A person could use the metaphor literally or more figuratively depending on who reads it. Soto also uses the phrase "not yet [a] broken chair" to give a clue as to the age of the character in the poem. If he is not yet broken, then he would still be young and able to move about easily....
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