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Heritage: American Book Award and Poem

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Jabbari Edwards Professor Murphy November 2, 2009 Eng 1101 Analysis of “Heritage” by Lorna Dee Cervantes In the poem “Heritage” by Lorna Dee Cervantes the speaker goes back to the place of her families decent to find her heritage, only to discover despise and hatred from her people. Although she is of the same decent and race of the people the see her as a traitor because she was raised American. The poems imagery shows how harsh the people are acting towards Lorna Dee Cervantes and describes the setting.

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The poem gives the impression that heritage is an object. This shows that in Mexican culture heritage is more than skin deep a person has to actually live their culture and heritage to be accepted. Throughout the poem Cervantes describes how she is gets a negative vibe from the citizens. The poem is set in the streets of Oaxaca Mexico. The poem gives the reader the notion that Lorna is not being welcomed with opened arms.

The author states “The children run to me/laughing, spinning me blind and silly /they call to me in words of another language” (lines 3- 5).

These lines show the children are making fun of her, the lines also emphasize her confusion. The poet does not truly understand why she is being treated in this manner. Throughout the poem the people continue show their disapproval of her by calling her names, for example the author states “But Mexico gags ESPUTA”(lines 10-11). Esputa means spit and she is a prostitute. The people may be calling her these names because she is dressed like an American and they see that she is not the same as them.

Although she has not tried to separate herself she will always be separated because she was born American. She is just trying to find her self and her heritage In the poem the author mentions her name twice, although she can look the part and act as if she is one of the natives she cannot let her name go. The author states in the poem “My name hangs about me like a loose tooth”(line 12). Her name is something she cannot get rid of, it will always be with her. Lorna is a name of English decent. “They give me a name/ that fights me”. lines16-17) She cannot seem to fit in with the people as long as this is her name “Old women know my secret /es la culpa de los antepasados (its the fault of the ancestors)” . (lines 13- 14). Her parents gave the name and let her grow up thinking as an American. She uses metaphors and similes about her name. The people see her as ignorant due to her lack of knowledge about her heritage. She should not be blamed for being oblivious to her culture it is her parent fault for not teaching her. The poem uses allusion to show that she is in search of her heritage as if it is an object. Heritage I look for you all day in the streets of Oaxaca”. (lines 1-2) these lines show that she is making a conscious effort to find out about her heritage. In the poem the author says“`My brown body searches the streets /for the dye that color my thoughts”. (lines 6-7) In this line the dye represents heritage in which she is in search of. “Heritage” by Lorna Dee Cervantes is about Mexican heritage. The poet uses many poetic devices throughout the poem to show the given theme. He uses allusions to show s he is searching for heritage.

Although she is making an attempt to find her heritage the people are not accepting her. Her being born American has separated her from her ancestors original heritage. The poems theme is heritage not just being seen someone’s decent and race it is how someone goes about living their everyday life from the way that person dresses to where he or she lives to her name everything that person does is a part, and someone will not be accepted as long as they do not live by these guidelines of the Mexican culture.

Cite this Heritage: American Book Award and Poem

Heritage: American Book Award and Poem. (2018, Feb 15). Retrieved from https://graduateway.com/heritage-american-book-award-and-poem/

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