I really enjoyed reading Gloria Anzaldúa’s poem “We Call Them Greasers” because of all the imagery. Every stanza, I could picture what Anzaldúa was describing, which really made it easier for me to understand what the characters were going through. The first stanza says, “They were growing corn in their small ranchos raising cattle, horses, smelling of wood smoke and sweat.” Here, I was really able to visualize the people out working in the field and with their animals.
I could also really realize the imagery in the third stanza where it says, “Some loaded their chickens, children, wives, and pigs into rickety wagons, pans and tools dangling, clanging from all sides.” This section made it easy to picture their frightened faces wanting to leave in a hurry to avoid getting killed, even though this was their home.
I also noticed some consonance in the poem when the author says “longing, dangling” in the third stanza. There is also a lot of alliteration in the third stanza with the words chickens, children, clanging, couldn’t, cattle, claimed, and courts. The fourth stanza includes some similes by saying that the man was “keening like a wild animal.” There is more alliteration in the fourth stanza with the “s” sound with the words such, sat, stopped, and spat, and the “b” sound with beady black eyes.
There is also symbolism in this poem. The piece of paper that the men are waving around represents an unjust law, how they are taking things that don’t actually belong to them. It also represents the Mexicans’ lack freedom, how they are bound by what a piece of paper says rather than the fact that the ranchos have always been theirs.
The poem that I chose is told from the perspective of the white men forcefully moving the Mexicanas off their land. I found it interesting that Anzaldúa chose this perspective for the poem, but it really helped for me as a reader to see that the white man felt no remorse, but that he was entitled to the Mexicanas’ land.
This poem is told in free verse. There really isn’t any rhyming to this poem, but just told straight forward. Anzaldúa does also use some repetition, even though she doesn’t rhyme, by repeating the words thrusting, eyes, and face. Overall, I think the biggest effect this poem had on me was by its use of imagery. I was really able to better understand the cruelty and picture this event occurring.
Sophomore Ashland University