Sunday At The Canal, By David Soto Essay

1003 Words Apr 11th, 2016 5 Pages
As a child, Gary Soto imagined that he would “marry Mexican poor, work Mexican hours, and in the end die a Mexican death, broke and in despair” (Soto, “Living Up The Street” 184). Although this may seem surprising coming from the renowned modern Chicano poet of “Saturday at the Canal”, it was the inevitable fate of many in his childhood community. Soto grew up in Fresno, California at the heart of San Joaquin Valley’s agricultural industry in the mid-20th century, where everyone in his family worked in a field or factory. He and his family were never able to envision a future unlike their present of near poverty and violence. As a Mexican-American, he was neither here nor there; he didn’t feel ties to either culture of his label. With expectations low and his lack of a cultural identity, Soto became a wild, mischievous adolescent who showed little interest in school. But by chance, he found poetry, and took the leap of faith to become a poet. Although Soto’s poetry addresses universal ideas and emotions, the themes in “Saturday at the Canal” can be traced back to his childhood as a Mexican-American in the mid-20th century. The sentiments of the poem mirror the common Mexican-American life of societal alienation, poor education, and hopeless aspirations that Soto grew up living, thus providing insight into the motives behind the Mexican American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s.
The Mexican American Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s, also known today as the Chicano…

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