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Theme of Family in Julia Alvarez’s Poem Exile

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    In the poem, “Exile”, Julia Alvarez describes a father-daughter relationship in which a father and daughter as well as family, get exiled from their home. The poet uses figurative language to set a serious mood and show us how being exiled is probably the worst thing a family can go through. Having to lie to their own children is bad, but being forced out of their own home isn’t that so well either. Having to departure from their home, gives them a confusing uncertainty about the new.

    The first stanza of the poem sets the tone by the author telling her father “The night we fled the country, Papi, You told me we were going to the beach. ” The opening line of the poem emphasizes the father’s words that were said and are clearly remembered by his daughter. It is the very first detail we learn about what the father said to his daughter when they fled the country. The daughter’s reaction afterward was her listening to her dad when the next line says, “Hurried me to get dressed along with the others. This reaction leads to only one to conclusion: did a family get exiled from their country?

    In the next stanza, it contains figurative language that makes us think of how the father was feeling or speaking to his brothers or in other shoe’s the narrator’s uncles when the sixth line says “Speaking in worried whispers to your brothers. ” I know alliteration being used because of worried and whispers. Mom packing up her children’s bag in the end of the third stanza, the fourth stanza begins with an example of personification. “Hurried bag, allowing one toy apiece”, the author gave the bag an attribution of a personal nature. We readers also can say that the family was in a rush from the thirteenth line.

    In the second part of the story we know that the mom lies to her daughter by saying “a week at the beach so Papi can get some rest. ” We find out that the family is going on to the open road in a black Ford, sets out on the highway, and are heading toward the coast. They race toward an airport and find themselves waiting till dawn when a plane arrives and then takes them to a new horizon, a city of which they are unfamiliar to the fullest extent of. Mariela Dabbah, could relate to this as if the family felt once they arrived to a new country.

    The first time I landed in Las Vegas only a few years ago I thought I had mistakenly taken a Virgin Galactic flight to Mars”, was what she said on an article published for Fox news. In the 22nd line, Alvarez includes Simile and illusion in just one line, “My arms out like Jesus’ on his cross. ” Having to pass family beach house, the author’s sisters were crying because of them turning before it. Mom trying to console her children, she tried telling them there was a better surprise for them. That shows how having to lie because them being exiled, and trying to make something up is an unfortunate thing to go through as a family.

    As the family only has a few weeks later into their new city, hand in hand, they stop before a summary display window at Macy’s. They see a family outfitted for a beach. Then the daughter compares and contrasts her father to the father on the display window. The father in display was handsome, slim and sure of himself. She then tells that her father has a thick mustache, a three piece suit, fedora hat, and an accent. In the window’s reflection, Alvarez and her father also see their “too formal” image. Towards the very end, the beginning of last stanza is an example of a metaphor.

    Or like, Papi, two swimmers looking down. ” Being exiled is probably the worst thing for a family to go through. Julia Alvarez explained a family’s trouble of being exiled and how they left their homeland in this poem. Alvarez uses many literary elements within the poem to tell the story. The swimming in the poem all throughout was an extended metaphor and to me showed how a little girl had to plunge into the sea, goes away from the land she knows, and into the unknown. That’s something quite to go through at a young age.

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