Gary’s Soto “Mexicans Begin Jogging,” describes an event that happened when he worked in a factory where illegal Mexican workers were employed. Although the poem is simple, Soto brings identity, ironic, drama, and imagery to his audience. The narrative reflects irony the speaker went through and the dilemma that Mexican Americans go through. The poems tone is ironic and not taking too seriously. The poem begins explaining to the reader the story of a Mexican American as he worked in an industrial factory at some point in his life. “In the factory I worked, in the fleck of rubber, under a press of an oven yellow with flame.
” (Lines 1-3) Soto uses visual imagery to describe the color of the fire that comes out of the oven. “Until the border patrol opened” “Their vans and my boss waved for us to run” (4-5) the speaker demonstrate intensity and a solid imagery. “La Migra” (Spanish slang for border patrol) showed up one day at the plant and the boss ordered Soto to run assuming that the speaker is also illegal. “Over the fence Soto” he shouts (6); at this point, the reader makes the connection between the speaker and the author’s name. The boss shouting at Soto represents authority over the speaker.
Soto yelled “I am American” (7) but his boss was hesitant to believe him. In response to the speaker statement, the boss replies “no time for lies. ” (8) Therefore, the speaker was obligated to escape with the others. Soto was a loyal employee and did what his boss asked, which lead the jog with the Mexican crowd. Here we have a conflict of identity: Soto is Mexican at heart but American in mind something that his boss may not understand. This shows it’s a dramatic poem because you can feel the pressure between the boss and the speaker and you want to continue reading the poem to find out what happens next.
“I ran from that industrial road to the soft / Houses where people paled at the turn of an autumn sky” (14-15) the people watched as these illegal immigrants ran through their neighborhood. Soto uses precise images when he refers to the people’s color of skin “Houses where people paled at the turn of an autumn sky. ” (16) As the speaker runs through the suburbanites, he greets them, embracing the symbols of America “baseball, milkshakes and those sociologists. ” (18)
“What could I do to yell vivas (Spanish for hooray) / to baseball milkshakes, and those sociologist / who would clock me” (17-19) these lines projects happiness and relived. At this point he is relived because he is now safe from the border patrol. The poem is filled not with resentment but with optimism, the cheerfulness of that “great, silly grin” (21) that he believes will take him to a future where they will be as American as anyone else. But he also understands that people like him, mainly Mexicans who come to the United States to strive for something better in life. The speaker addresses the dilemma of being neither Mexican nor American, of traveling the trajectory between both nationalities.
Because he its color of the skin and lived in a border culture, it was often assumed that he was not an American. The speaker is a men looking for freedom and a better future, an element so well-known that he is willing to risk everything to achieve his goal. There is no need for Soto to run because he is an American. Soto’s poem is emotionally and a practical clever story that many Mexicans Americans relate too. Work Cited Soto, Gary. “Mexicans Begin Jogging. ” Literature: Craft & Voice. ED. Nicholas Delbanco andAlan Cheuse. New York: McGraw-Hill, 2010. 114. Print.
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