repetition in ” “Race” Politics” by Luis Rodriguez


How does the poet’s use of repetition affect the tone of the poem? He uses sensory details as well; how do those details further affect the tone?


Good morning Abby!

Looking at the poem, Rodriguez makes strong use of repetition, especially in lines 20-24 of the poem. By repeating the word “over,” Rodriguez is placing emphasis on how distant the area of South Gate is from the boys’ home, both emotionally and literally. The boys had to climb over all of the obstacles standing between their home and the South Gate area.

To add to that, Rodriguez uses sensory details to describe the things the boys must go over – “discarded sofas” and “bent-up market carts (lines 21-22).” These details make it seem as if the boys are trying to overcome the hardships of the neighborhood in which they are from. South Gate certainly wouldn’t have broken sofas and bent shopping baskets just laying around.

However, the biggest obstacle that the boys in this poem face is the prejudice of other people. He calls the “narrow line of hate” both “forbidden” and “full of meaning, meaning nothing (lines 26-33).” The prejudices the people of South Gate have about the boys seem as if they insurmountable.

I hope that helps!

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