I thought that “We Call Them Greasers” was one of the most powerful poems we read from Gloria Anzaldúa in Dr. Rathbun’s FL 221 U.S.-Mexico Border Literature class.
The perspective from which Anzaldúa chose to write allowed the reader to put herself in the shoes of the oppressor. I felt a sense of coldness and heartlessness after reading the poem because I became the white man.
The imagery in this poem also had an effect on me as I pictured in my mind the Mexican families gathering their things into “rickety wagons” and I heard the “clanging” of all of their possessions. I also heard the white man’s laughter after the Mexican tried appealing to the courts.
The imagery only continues to become more powerful as the poetic voice describes a rape scene. I could see the victim’s husband tied to the tree. This symbolizes the Mexicans watching their land being stripped or “raped” from them and there is nothing they can do about it.
The sparing use of Spanish in this poem gives me a sense that the white man is mocking the Mexicans and only throws in a couple of words in Spanish when he talks about them leaving or when he makes fun of their farms and culture.
I discovered repetition in the verses describing the rape scene. For example, the poem reads “thrusting and thrusting” which I thought really told the reader what was going on. The reader doesn’t want to believe the truth, but Anzaldúa uses such strong imagery to officially unveil the sick power of the white man raping Mexico of its land.
Intervention Specialist Major