Theme Of Fences By Pat Mora

Decent Essays

Pat Mora begins her poem, “Fences,” on a positive note, saying “Mouths full of laughter,” which creates a safe and harmless tone. In the next line, Mora uses the Spanish word ‘turistas’ (tourist in English) to indicate possibly the ethnicity of the speaker. It is not until the last few lines of the poem, however, when the reader gains a hint of the speaker’s social class; the speaker’s mother says, “It’s their beach,” after seeing the speaker’s younger sister running across the sand where the affluent tourists are. At only 19 lines, “Fences” is a relatively short poem, but Mora’s use of language packs so much meaning into every sentence, and thus creates this rich and symbolic display of social and class division.
The first three lines (or first sentence) of the poem quickly establishes a cultural and class division. The aforementioned comment on Mora’s use of the word “turista” is important, for the speaker (Mora’s surrogate) is using the word to show that she is perhaps bilingual, but, more importantly, to show that the tourists, who are in a “tall hotel” with suitcases that are “full of dollars,” are not from the same class as she is; they are not from the same, presumably, Mexican-American culture, or from the same middle- to lower-class family. Albeit there is not exactly a class struggle here in traditional Marxist terms, but there is a clear divide between two social classes: one belongs to a class that has the privilege to go on luxurious vacations whereas the other

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