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"La Migra"

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Tori Giguere

on 29 October 2014

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Transcript of "La Migra"

• Narrative-type piece, not a great deal of symbolism and personification
• “I can touch you wherever I want” symbolizes La Migra is villain, also supported by handcuffs and gun that symbolize brutality
• Concept of “hide and run” illuminates fact that La Migra is everywhere, can hide but won’t escape. Capitalizes on confidence of La Migra police

Biography of Pat Mora
Born in El Paso, TX during the year of 1942
Her four grandparents came to TX from Mexico, so she grew up mostly speaking Spanish
Fluent in both English and Spanish
Books were a very important part of her childhood-carried to her adulthood
The Speaker provides the voice in the poem
The speaker can be the poet, or a character created by the poet
Imagery, shift, voice, and tone are often used in identifying and analyzing the speaker
The speaker also has an intended addressee, the person the speaker is speaking to.
The speaker changes the point of view the reader gets, and the intended effect of the poem. Some authors may desire the reader to hate the speaker, some may desire the reader’s sympathy, etc.
"La Migra"
"and you have been spotted by the sun", meaning the sun has purposefully discovered the border patrol and is now hovering over him with blistering rays
Important themes in poems and stories:
Mexican-American Culture
The desert
Pat Mora

"La Migra" hints at the author's background
Sets the scene for the two speakers of the border patrol and the immigrant
Part I
sets it up as a type of game of make believe
Mirrors a scene of illegal immigration "crossing the border"
Stereotypes a certain type of person that would be an illegal immigrant
Talks about the advantages of the border patrol officer
Addresses the dangers for the immigrants, how they are taken advantage of, mistreated

Part II
starts with the same format but focuses on the weaknesses of the border patrol

Builds up the Mexican woman as strong and free
Makes her a symbol of a larger group of people rather than a weak individual
Condescending tone of the border patrol
Superiority of one vs the other
Ironic sense of playfulness in a very serious situation

Triumphant tone of the Mexican woman
Power ans strength of one, representing the many
Independence of the woman despite her situation
Confidence that she will succeed

Noticeable shift between the two parts of the poem, Part I and Part II

Two different speakers, the border patrol officer and the Mexican immigrant
First section sets the scene of a hunt
Mexican immigrant viewed as alone and vulnerable
Second section makes the scene sound more like a chase
Mexican immigrant seen as resilient and powerful

Both sections use similar language, with the exception of the spanish in lines 33-34
Use similar setting and objects, but with different connotation, different representation
Tone of one is menacing and domineering
Other has a tone of freedom and hope
Represents the struggle between the two speakers
A very complex issue set up as a game

The author attempts to broach a complex topic of immigration
Shows both the vulnerable immigrant being chased, and the strong immigrant outrunning the border patrol
Uses the childlike format of a game and the language that sounds like a nursery rhyme
Handcuffs and gun symbolize absolute power border patrol has over the helpless Mexican maid
"I can touch you" indicates ability border patrol has ability to do whatever he wants; seemingly limitless power and abuse
"I get the badge and sunglasses" assumes automatic power, as if it were a given right for him to patrol this woman.
"Oh, and a gun" emphasizes lack of fear to injure or kill the woman, subtly throwing this fact back in her face
"I have a jeep" compared to "Your jeep has a flat" indicates how the Mexican woman doesn't fear the border patrol and is willing to stand up to him.
"I'll touch you wherever I want" seems absolutely irrational, but in reality it is the truth as the Border Control has control over this woman. Boundaries do not exist to them, and they have no limitations on how to
treat those who come through the borders.
The juxtaposition between the Mexican woman's feelings and those of the Border patrol relates the similarity amongst the two, regardless of the situation they are in. Presented as timid and weak by the Border Patrol, the Mexican woman surprises us by saying about the Border Patrol "Get Ready".
There is a shift in speaker
Displays two points of view, with the same effect
Contrast of the tones in each part
Both are proud and taunting, but the first is cruel, and his intent is to harm, whereas the second is rebellious, and her intent is to succeed

The entire poem serves as a metaphor as the game they play, as stated in the initial line "Lets Play La Migra" This is a euphemism for the actuality of the situation that is occurring.
This poem lacks hyperbole. However, the style of writing sounds like a nursery rhyme in the simplistic sense of "I'll do this" and "you will do that"
La Migra
Let's play La Migra
I'll be the Border Patrol.
You be the Mexican maid.
I get the badge and sunglasses.
You can hide and run,
but you can't get away
because I have a jeep.
I can take you wherever
I want, but don't ask
questions because
I don't speak Spanish.
I can touch you wherever
I want but don't complain
too much because I've got
boots and kick--if I have to,
and I have handcuffs.
Oh, and a gun.
Get ready, get set, run.
Let's play La Migra
You be the Border Patrol.
I'll be the Mexican woman.
Your jeep has a flat,
and you have been spotted
by the sun.
All you have is heavy: hat,
glasses, badge, shoes, gun.
I know this desert,
where to rest,
where to drink.
Oh, I am not alone.
You hear us singing
and laughing with the wind,
Agua dulce brota aqui,
aqui, aqui, but since you
can't speak Spanish,
you do not understand.
Get ready.
Full transcript