Essay on Poetry Analysis

772 Words Nov 6th, 2013 4 Pages
Poetry Analysis Essay

“Poema para los Californios Muertos”

Lorna Dee Cervantes' poem, “Poema para los Californios Muertos” (“Poem for the Dead Californios”), is a commentary on what happened to the original inhabitants of California when California was still Mexico, and an address to the speaker's dead ancestors. Utilizing a unique dynamic, consistently alternating between Spanish and English, Cervantes accurately represents the fear, hatred, and humility experienced by the “Californios” through rhythm, arrangement, tone, and most importantly, through use of language.
Many times readers do not grasp a strong sense of the meaning or provocation of a poem simply through its title. However, the title “Poema para los Californios
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The forth part brings forth a new type of diction with words such as “bitter antiques” and “remnants” to represent that this is all that remains of California's original people, and in the final lines, “pungent odor of crushed eucalyptus” and “the pure scent of rage” paint for us an entirely different image than any of the other parts. Smell is an extremely powerful sense, and by using these phrases with ghastly connotations, Cervantes increases the level of guilt and sympathy felt by the reader. A strong irony in the forth part consists of coupling beautiful things such as a blue jay and crushed eucalyptus, which should connote for us happiness, with pungent odors and shrieking, which steal that false sense of happiness. Furthermore, this irony creates for readers their own personal sense of loss by imagining something so happy as a blue jay making a horrific shriek or of something so sweet as eucalyptus smelling rotten. Through this, Cervantes has distributed to her readers some of the pain felt by the Mexican people.
The middle of the poem, consisting of parts two and three, make up the second focal point of the poem, in which the speaker addresses her ancestors, her own anguish concerning the loss of California as it once was, and reaches the climax of the poem in which she reveals herself as the “hija pobrecita” (Poor daughter) cursing the ghosts of the white people who stole California. The only hint of vulnerability we perceive

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