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Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Poetry Analysis: Immigrants In Our Own Land by Jimmy Santiago Baca

My overall impression of the poem is that it is about immigrants who come to the United States, or any country that isn't theirs. They leave their country with expectations but in the end, those expectations result into nothing. The only realization that they come to is that things have "changed." The author delivers this message by comparing those who go to a new land to those in prison.

1.)There is one speaker and that speaker is one of the people in the prison. He is a male, I am making the assumption that he is a man (he also describes his boxer shorts drying, not something women wear). The speaker speaks throughout the entire poem. 
2.) I think that each stanza is a different part of the poem because each describes different things. 

  • The first part of the poem is describing the situation of those who came to another land and their social status in their native land
  • The second part of the poem describes their expectations of the new world but what actually waits them once they are there. 
  • The third part explains why they left their land and how the land they are in now is not much different-"it's all concentrated."
  • The fourth part is more directly through what the speaker sees in the "prison." It again reinstates the idea that everything is in bad conditions and not much different from the "other world."
  • The fifth stanza introduces the concept of a cycle in the poem: New people will always come and each will have the same expectations....
  • The last stanza introduces the reality of things. The expectations that the people came with will shatter. Most of the things that they had hoped for will never come true. Some will leave, but they will leave different people.  A lot of them may amount to nothing. In the end, the people who left their land will realize that everything has changed. 
3.)The main theme that resonates throughout the entire poem is expectations versus reality. The immigrants come 
"each with their heart hoping they'll get a chance to change their lives." The reality is that hardly anybody will achieve their goals and aspirations.
5.) The main image created in this poem is the comparison of immigrants entering a new land to that of people going into prison. Essentially, they are entering what will become their prison. This image is created very vividly through the metaphor of a prison.
6.)Diction is also plays a major role in the poem. An example is, "My cell is crisscrossed with laundry lines..." A prison cell does not have this but the fact that he uses "cell" instead of home contributes to the image of a prison. 
7.)The beginning of the poem begins with a hopeful tone: "We are born with dreams in our hearts/looking for better days ahead..." By the end of the novel it is a more serious and almost depressing tone. "In the end some will just sit around...."
8.) This poem is written in free verse, it has no particular rhyme. As already mentioned, imagery and metaphors are a key component in the poem. There is also the use of the motif of a prison, this can also be considered an extended metaphor as well. The point of view is from someone who lives in the prison. 
9.) The poem has no particular rhyme to it. It flows nicely through the use of commas and semicolons. 


  1. Thank you so much! Helped me a lot for my assignment! :)

  2. Thank you so much. I needed this for my project!

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  4. Change your background because it is unreadable