Department of English Gymnasium Steglitz Berlin
I am Joaquin
by Rodolpho Gonzales
|I am Joaquin,
lost in a world of confusion,
caught up in the whirl of a
confused by the rules,
scorned by attitudes,
suppressed by manipulation,
and destroyed by modern society.
have lost the economic battle
the struggle of cultural suvival.
|Yo soy Joaquín,
perdido en un mundo de confusión,
enganchado en el remolino de una
confundido por las reglas,
despreciado por las actitudes,
sofocado por manipulaciones,
y destrozado por la sociedad moderna.
perdieron la batalla económica
la lucha de supervivencia cultural.
The poem has no real structure; it is loosely divided into two parts, but does not make use of any rhymes. It is printed rather differently from what one would traditionally expect, to highlight certain words or phrases. The fact that "or" in line 19 stands alone and therefore gets special attention, stresses for example the big difference between the two worlds. As the author, Rodolfo Gonzales, is a Mexican American the poem exists in English and Spanish. This is to express the authors feeling of not being able to shut out one of the two worlds completely.
"Joaquin" tells the reader that his ancestors managed to keep their cultural identity, but that this meant being economically ruined. On the other hand he explains that although a full stomach is guaranteed in the modern American society one is manipulated and inwardly destroyed by the attitudes of American people. Also, identification with the American world would mean a complete loss of cultural identity. Of course, the problem of the decision between the American and Mexican world arises.
I think the poem is rather depressing. As a
European one might just about be conscious of the material problems in minority groups,
but one hardly realises how badly "modern society" can destroy cultural
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