Critical Thinking

Have they did not have very much control

Have you ever had to do something that you had no control over? In both the poems “Exile” and “Lost Sister” the main characters had to live a life they did not have very much control over. “Exile” is about a young girl who had to abruptly flee her country, along with her family. “Lost Sister” is about a woman from China who attempts to escape her heritage. Both of the poems discuss immigration and the hardships of getting used to being in a new place. In the poem “Exile” by Julia Alvarez she describes the experience of her family’s abrupt unexpected departure from their Dominican homeland in Ciudad Trujillo and their adjustment to New York City. She describes the experience from the voice of her as a young innocent child who was oblivious to what was going on. In the poem, the speaker says, “Something was off, I knew, but I was so young/ and didn’t think adult things could go wrong” (17-18). She could feel that something was wrong but she was too young to be aware of what exactly was going on. Once her family got to America they felt like they didn’t belong and they weren’t like everyone else. While remembering her family admiring a display window with a family shown the speaker says, “…the handsome father, slim and sure of himself,/ so unlike you, Papi, with your thick mustache,/ your three-piece suit, your fedora hat, your accent” (52-54). She compares the father in the display window to her father and sees that they are very different. The father in the display window is what is considered an “ideal” father.In the poem “Lost Sister” by Cathy Songs, she describes the lives of two generations of Chinese women. One generation chooses to leave China and begin a new life in America, and the other chooses to stay in China and experience her culture the way it was meant to be. There is a comparison between the two women. They are similar because of their culture but different because of what they chose to do with their lives. The poem discusses how many girls were given the name Jade, even the peasants. In part one of the poem it says, “To move freely was a luxury/ stolen from them at birth” (12-13) This reflects how peasant girls were very confined and didn’t have much freedom. They were restricted from leaving home and were unable to enjoy the luxury of moving freely. The second part of the poem talks about a Chinese woman who decided to rebel from her culture and move from China to America despite her family’s rules and traditions. “There is a sister/ across the ocean,/ who relinquished her name,/ diluting jade green/ with the blue of the Pacific” (26-30). This quote from the poem reflects that by the woman leaving China and moving to America, she betrayed her culture. The themes of the two poems are similar because they both reflect the struggles of immigration.Both of the poems, “Exile” and “Lost Sister” reflect immigration and the hardships of getting used to living in a new place. “Exile” tells the story of a young girl who immigrated from her homeland, Ciudad Trujillo, to America. “Lost Sister” is about a girl who rebelled from her culture and immigrated from China to New York. Both had to get used to now living in America. Possibly you or someone else you know has immigrated from the place where you/they grew up. Did you/they feel the same struggles that the young girl and her family, and the Chinese woman felt when trying to get used to being in a new place.

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