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Aurora Levins Morales’ “Child of the Americas”has various key features and central themes regarding the mixed American society. The author explains how we are mixed by culture for a second time through an encounter with the dominant culture in the United States of America. This secondary racial intermingling with the new Anglo-European cousins results into individuals who are Mexican-Americans, Puerto Rican-Americans or Cuban-Americans. It is through the author’s book that the reader can be able to ascertain how American bipolarity in racial ideology has continued to deny the truth or reality of rampant race mixing between the non-white and white people and the continued fascination of America with miscegenation. A significant feature of American culture is revealed through the conceptions of the white racial purity. Both poems reveal the cultural identity that is prevalent in foreign or strange land through the examination of fundamental and widely recognized realities that racial categories are normally socially constructed (Levins 1).
Both of the above poems are important in that each of the poems discusses the pride of the authors’ races and cultures and that the authors do not even make an attempt of making excuses for their being; but rather they want to explain about their pride for who they are. The poems also express how the authors saw no way of changing themselves the way they are but instead they explain how history created them that way. In both of the poems, the authors display some of their differences in cultures and in their identities as immigrants’ descendants and as Latinas. Gloria Anzaldua’s is an individual Chicana who comes from Texas, while Aurora Morales is an individual who is a Puerto Rican.
Both Anzaldua’s and Morales’ poems are the same in that they both tell about the pride that is prevalent in their poems and express the anger to a culture that does not seem to be comprehended due to the fact that the culture is different by nature. The works of both authors stress on the need for people to learn how to co-exist with individuals from other races and cultures despite the differences that exist between them. As a result, many similarities can be found in both poems.
In both poems, the issue of mixing races is greatly discussed. For instance, according to Anzaldua’s poem, living in borderland implies that one “…is neither India, Hispania, negra Espanola… ” (This means that one is neither black Spanish, Spanish Indian, woman nor white, thus being mixed breed). Anzaldua, therefore, portrays herself and other individuals living in the borderland as being a unique blending of the 5 races and who continually feel to be strangers in their own homelands. According to Anzaldua, life is compared to being “estiza” as an individual who is known to transcend borders. The author asserts that those individuals who live in the new culture like this one transcends the genders, races and cultures. The poem is both powerful and important to readers because it reveals to them a new perspective and paradigm of self: many cultures in an individual. The poem, therefore, walks its readers through their cultures and histories (Anzaldúa 1).
Just like Anzaldua’s poem, Aurora Levins Morales’ poem expresses the prevalent differences in race and how people deal with them. The poem explains how history made the author and expresses how she was delivered at crossroad with no regret. Morales just like Anzaldua cannot get her ultimate place in her own race since she has different identities. It is through such realization that the author ends her poem, thus “…I am whole…” It is through the poem that the author gets a platform in expressing her identity with the past while wanting to put herself in the current at the same time.
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Despite the differences in race of the authors of the above two poems, the poems are similar in that they both discuss an issue regarding the mixing of the races not the mixing of the cultures. The two poems are, therefore, a reflection of how many cultures are capable of existing together in a region that is common, thus leading to a new culture. In her poem, Anzaldua asserts that “… living in the borderland implies putting chile in the borscht, eating whole wheat tortillas, speaking Tex-Mex with an accent of Brooklyn: being stopped by immigration officials at the checkpoints…” Food is used as a symbol by Anzaldua to signify the mixing of these cultures. As a result, she uses wheat tortillas, Borscht and Chile, which happen to be foods coming from different cultures and places but which are eaten together, as embodiment of the cultures which have existed on borderlands for many generations but merged into one culture that is different from people’s groups that have lived there.
Despite the fact that Anzaldua was an author who was brought up between two different cultures, Chicano, where she was both delivered and brought up, and the Anglo, in which she became educated, her new culture expected her to conform towards society - something she was unable to do. Aurora Levins’ works also make use of symbols in the description of the issue of mixing cultures. For instance, in the poem “Child of the Americas,”the author asserts that “…I’m Caribena …Spanish, island grown … my hips: the language of mangoes and garlic, the singing in my poetry, the flying gestures of my hands…” Aurora, thus, identifies herself as being Caribbean through the use of Mangoes and Garlic, which are normally taken as being Caribbean.
Morales is proud of who she is through displaying pride of the United States, which is absent in the contemporary society. This is no verbalism, but instead, it is the author’s pride in her diverse background which is prevalent in the culture of the Americans. This can be proved in the first line of each poem’s stanza, which begins that “…I am a United States Puerto Rican Jew, Caribena. Not African …African in me…not Taino but with Taino in me…” Through her poem, Morales captures the aspirations of the United States’ composition, while at the same time appreciating the diversity of her heritage. The author portrays strong hope and love for her country, something which appropriately and symbolically matches the American nation’s motto of “Out of many, one” by ending her poem as “…Child of … America’s…I’m whole…”
In both poems, the authors have used languages in their works to imply the mix of English and Spanish. For instance, Anzaldua says “Cuando vives … frontera… (when living in the borderlands), individuals walk through you, …wind steals … voice, you’re burra buey or donkey ox…” The pride that the author feels for the Spanish ancestors is reflected in the poem through using of the Spanish language. On the other hand, Morale asserts that, “…I speak English …passion: it is the tongue… consciousness…my 1st language was Spanglish...” In the poem “Child of the America’s”, the author’s message portrays passion for her language, culture, the Spanish and food in general. The author’s poem is powerful in the sense that it fights for having lots of cultures, while at the same time staying connected through such cultures and through your memory, history and identity. The author talks of “being at crossroads of her culture.”
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Both Anzaldua’s and Morales’ poems have a theme that is common: one of many traces, cultures and languages existing in one place for the creation of the new culture. They want to become accepted the way they are. The poems’ messages are not to complain but instead to seek an affirmation of your true identities and all parts which make you to be the way you are. The authors, through their poems, make it known to their readers that it is okay to encourage bonding and to be multicultural and that we should not attempt to categorize ourselves into cultures, races or social positions. Instead, readers and other people as well should attempt at understanding each other while trying to exist in harmony, while accepting and taking note of the differences which are prevalent among us. It is such differences that make each individual unique and special.
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