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Michelle Jordan
Professor Cheryl Williams
English 202
April 6, 2013

“Immigrants” by Pat Mora

“Immigrants” by Pat Mora is a poem about immigrants of Spanish descent who migrated to America with their families and their greatest desire is for their children to live the American dream.
The poem is located in America, it describes how mothers “wrap their children into American flags and feed them mashed hot dogs and apple pie”. These families want their children to be Americanize from birth. They want their children to look, walk and talk like Americans. They wanted them to learn the culture so they can fit in an adapt in society, this way would be more easier for the children than their parents. The children would not have to go through the prejudices that their parents encountered.
The author is trying to show the sacrifices that immigrants will make for their children to have a better life in America. A lot of these sacrifices may change they way the look, speak, dress etc.
The tone in the beginning of the poem is patriotic; in the first line “wrap their babies in American flag…feed them mashed hot dots and apple pie” this is to teach them how to be Americans in everyway shape or form. These children will learn to read, write and speak English. They will wear clothes that the other children are wearing and speak like the other children. It would be harder for people to recognize that their families are immigrants. The even give them American names in (line 3) “Bill and Daisy” again it would be harder for people to know their background. The parents did all of this so they can blend in with the Americans. The author say in (line 4) “buy them blonde dolls that blink blue eyes” it shows that the parents want them to pass for white and not Hispanic. This is typical today in the Hispanic community, they are raising their children to look, act and speak like a white person. In (line 5) “a football and tiny cleats” speaks of the greatest American pass time…football a perfect way to blend it with the friends. In (line 6) they “speak to them in English so that that would be their primary language, again no one will recognize that they have a Spanish background.
We can see that they parents did not want to erase their culture totally. They still try to teach they children some things such as (line 9) “whisper in Spanish or Polish” They still want the children to know their culture and language, even if it was not the primary language.
Only the parents know what the purpose of all the changes, they were actually keeping secrets from the children. This is why they had to whisper in the night “when the babies sleep”. They parents was afraid to speak the language to them in the day or light because someone will find out the truth about their background. Most likely the children grew up clueless of the reasons the parents chose to raise them as Americans.
The author, Pat Mora is showing us that because of the stereotypes that immigrants experienced in the past. They are willing to sacrifice everything that they were accustomed and lean to adapt as Americans so their families can live the “American Dream”.
“The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy
“The Man He Killed” by Thomas Hardy is a poem about two characters with similar backgrounds. Both are war veterans who fought in a war previously but not on the same team. They seems to have a lot of animosity due to the circumstances of the war they served and never took the time to really understand each other side. A man was killed “just because” senselessly. The sad contradiction of war is that the leader decides to go to war and the men and women that serves just want to defend their country comes back home with a lot of mental illnesses. These soldiers’ finds it hard to cope with they returns home. They leave with a normal demeanor and returns home with a lot of psychological effects. The author wants to show us that it is not easy to return to society with the same state of mine as when they left. These soldiers’ struggles to have normal lives because they faces a lot of issues such as anger etc. A lot of times they cannot differentiate reality from the visions in the past.
In the first stanza, “Had he and I but met…by some old ancient inn…we should have set us down to wet…right many a nipperkin”. The author is showing us sign of remorse from the man that shot the gun. He is thinking that if they had met under different circumstance, friendly terms then the other man would not have died. There would be not staring to intimidate each other.
In the second stanza, “but range as infantry…and staring face to face…I shot at him as he at me…and killed him in his place”. This is saying that these two men felt threatened by each. In their minds the staring brought on intimidation and fear. Each man felt threatened and imminent danger. The only thing left was to attack and react.
In the third stanza, “I shot him dead because…because he was in my face…just so…my foe of course he was…that’s clear enough; although”. Again the author shows how the man felt threatened by the other man and decided to defend himself. The staring brought memories while serving in war. The other guy became a threat and he probably could not separate reality from visions.
In the fourth stanza, “He thought he’d list perhaps…off-hand like just as I…was out of work had sold his traps…no other reason why.” The author wants show a different side of the killer. The man that he killed had similarities with him; both enlist in the military and out of work because he was selling his traps.
In the fifth stanza, “yes, quaint and curious war is…you shoot a fellow down…you’d treat if met where any bar in…or help to half a crown”. They were probably fighting in a war that was senseless. They only went because it was their duty to serve their country. The attitude while fighting is to shoot and kill, not to look to get familiar with your opponents. The author wants to point out that strangers meet up in bars, have conversations and gains friendship most of the times.

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