The irony of Gary Soto “Mexicans Begin Jogging”
Gary’s Soto “Mexicans Begin Jogging,” describes an event that happened when he worked in a factory where illegal Mexican workers were employed. Although the poem is simple, Soto brings identity, ironic, drama, and imagery to his audience. The narrative reflects irony the speaker went through and the dilemma that Mexican Americans go through. The poems tone is ironic and not taking too seriously.
The poem begins explaining to the reader the story of a Mexican American as he worked in an industrial factory at some point in his life. “In the factory I worked, in the fleck of rubber, under a press of an oven yellow with flame.” (Lines 1-3) Soto uses visual imagery to describe the color of the fire that comes out of the oven. “Until the border patrol opened” “Their vans and my boss waved for us to run” (4-5) the speaker demonstrate intensity and a solid imagery. “La Migra” (Spanish slang for border patrol) showed up one day at the plant and the boss ordered Soto to run assuming that the speaker is also illegal. "Over the fence Soto" he shouts (6); at this point, the reader makes the connection between the speaker and the author's name. The boss shouting at Soto represents authority over the speaker. Soto yelled “I am American” (7) but his boss was hesitant to believe him. In response to the speaker statement, the boss replies “no time for lies.” (8) Therefore, the speaker was obligated to escape with the others. Soto was a loyal employee and did what his boss asked, which lead the jog with the Mexican crowd. Here we have a conflict of identity: Soto is Mexican at heart but American in mind something that his boss may not understand. This shows it’s a dramatic poem because you can feel the pressure between the boss and the speaker and you want to continue reading the poem to find out what happens next.
“I ran from that industrial road to the soft / Houses where people paled at the turn of an autumn sky" (14-15)...
Cited: Soto, Gary. “Mexicans Begin Jogging.” Literature: Craft & Voice. ED. Nicholas Delbanco and Alan Cheuse. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 114. Print.
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