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Transcript of Bilingual Sestina
2. Reading a Poem
7. Figures of Speech
5. Saying and Suggesting
denotations, connotations, and symbols
5. Saying and Suggesting (continued)
By Julia Alvarez
Project by Melanie, Laura, Jaclyn, and Emma
The use of spanish terms in Alvarez's poem indicates a warm/comforting connotation because they represent the culture she grew up around.
ash over me like
aters as I
Alvarez uses symbolism when she mentions persianas (blinds); represents the opening and closing of Spanish heritage throughout her life.
en inglés=in English
A "touch-sensitive plant" is mentioned as a symbol; represents the closing of Alvarez's spanish heritage by the touch of the English language in her society.
“Bilingual Sestina” is about having two languages in your head, but that the words won't translate right away. Julia Alvarez is trying to express in English what Spanish feels like to her.
"Snowy, blonde, blue-eyed" is a negative connotation of English heritage.
The author cannot explain or describe everything she wishes to in English.
The author finds Spanish warm, inviting, and familiar while English is cold and dull compared to it.
connotation: warm, comforting
connotation: warmth, happiness
connotation: vast, open, beauty
Repetition of words:
English, Spanish, closed, words, nombres, said
The author says that being bilingual made some Spanish words lose meaning.
open and closed with form of sound (assonance, alliteration, etc)
Ex: Line 5 assonance "evoke...nombres"
Ex: Line 11 consonance "turned...words
connotation: vast complexity
The author is wanting her memories to be as they were and not translated. Her memories were warm and loving, but they have been long forgotten.
The author expresses the beauty of Spanish.
described as a "mood"
influences the experience of reading
The title "Bilingual Sestina" invites associations of pride in culture and language
Alvarez evokes a satirical and begrudging tone in the second line, "...in this snowy, blonde, blue-eyed, gum chewing English."
Alvarez exhibits affection for her native language by romanticizing the Spanish language through tone, "...the sounds of Spanish wash over me like warm island waters as I say your soothing names: a child again learning the nombres."
Alvarez expresses herself through a bilingual person's point of view
The work illustrates the poet's own complex feelings about language, culture, and imagination, and therefore Alvarez does not take on a persona.
The tone of this poem expresses the significance towards the poet's passion and fondness of the Spanish language.
Written in fixed form, otherwise known as closed form
A traditional pattern that applies to the whole poem
Poems with fixed form follow patterns of lines, meters, rhymes, and stanzas.
A French form
divided into 6 sestets (6 line stanzas)
ends with an envoy, a 3 line stanza that serves as the concluding stanza of the poem
39 line poem
The form contributes to the artistic and organizational significance of the poem
warm island waters
*=applies to multiple types of imagery
"not Adam, not God"
Rosario created narrator's ability to speak Spanish
Parallels God's creation of Adam
"dawn's early light"
National Anthem between mention of white and Hispanic girls
Contrasts two culture backgrounds
repetition instead of rhyme (contributes to poems' rhythm)
"Spanish" and "English" shows opposition
The author said that the world was simpler with Spanish. English makes things confusing.
The theme is that there are words that the author could express in Spanish, but the English languauge could never translate. She wants to say some things in Spanish, but English makes it difficult for her to do so.
estas son las mananitas=these are the birthday songs
Euphony, cacophony, alliteration, assonance, consonance, onomatopoeia
"w" and "s" - euphonic sounds emphasize comfort in Spanish
"b" - express bitter emotions toward English
cacophonic, sharp "k" sounds portray
distress English causes speaker
Reiterate theme of conflicting emotions between 2 languages
Demonstrate sentiment narrator finds in through native tongue
Ex: "Some things I have to say aren't getting said in this snowy, blonde, blue-eyed, gum chewing English
Ex: "A child again learning the
of things you point to the world before English turned
, to vocabulary words---
--- language closed"
Ex: "The world was simple and intact in Spanish"
Ex: "An intimacy I now yearn for in English--- words so close to what I meant that I almost hear my Spanish blood beating, beating inside what I say
The subject of the poem is the two languages being used: Spanish and English. Alvarez expresses her message through her concerns about the two languages that she uses.
Ex: "The sounds of Spanish wash over me like warm island waters..."
"Bilingual Sestina" is a narrative poem because the poem is told by Alvarez herself. She is always mentioning events and names from the past. She narrates by comparing the uses of the two languages in her life.
"Bilingual Sestina" is a lyric poem because Alvarez expresses her feelings of how she feels about both English and Spanish. She expresses more positive emotion towards Spanish, but expresses more negative emotion towards English.
Figurative language is used to exaggerate on what the author wants to stand out to the readers.
the use of multiple types of imagery, especially kinesthetic, help the reader understand how Alvarez's life quickly transitioned from comfort to discomfort when moving to America.
pattern of repitition of last words in each line
6-lined stanzas- each line ends with 1 of 6 repeated words
12 syllables of free verse-variation which is emphasizes speaker's resentment towards English society
13 syllables of free verse
vivid visual imagery used helps the reader to experience what Alvarez saw as she made the transition from Dominican society to English society.
"This snowy, blonde, blue-eyed, gum chewing English"
Levels of usage
to Spanish vocabuary
Spanish, English, nombres, closed, words, "to say"
U / U / U / U / U /
Some things I have to say aren't getting said
U U / / / / U / U / U
in this snowy, blonde, blue-eyed, gum chewing English
U / U / / U U U / U / U U
dawn's early light sifting through the persianas closed
U / U / U / U / U /
the night before by dark-skinned girls whose words
Definition: A comparison made with "as," "like," or "than."
"Some things I have to say aren't getting
in this snowy, blonde, blue-eyed, gum chewing
dawn's early light sifting through the persianas
the night before by dark-skinned girls whose
evoke, cama, aposento, sunos, in
from the first word I can't translate from
Definition: A comparison that is made directly or less directly, but in any case without pointing out a similariy by using words such as "like," "as," or "than."
Definition: A figure of speech in which the poet describes an abstraction, a thing, or a nonhuman form as if it were a person.
Definition: An act of stating something more than it actually is in order to make the point more serious, important, or beautiful.
Ex: "...as if the words were so close to the world one left a mist of breath on things by saying their names.."
Definition: A figure of speech employed by writers or speakers to intentionally make a situation seem less important than it really is.
Ex: "Even Spanish failed us when we realized how frail a word is when faced with the thing it names."
Alvarez uses this simile to compare how the sounds of Spanish feel to her. Spanish brings her a warm, comforting feeling like warm island waters.
Iambic pentameter concentrates on the division of syllables within each line
focuses the reader's attention to the significance of each word at the end of the line
Alvarez uses personification here to give nonhuman qualities to the English language. She is uses these words to down grade her not native language.
Alvarez uses an overstatement to over exagerrate how simple it was with just Spanish. She overstates by saying how a word left a mist of breath on things.
Alvarez uses an undertstatement to make us feel the way she feels. She says this to make it seem like a general, not so important situation, but we know from the context that this is really is important to her.
Definition: Contray to expectations, existing belief, or perceived opinion.
Ex: "...where palabras left behind for English stand dusty and awkward in neglected Spanish."
Alvarez uses a paradox to say how a word translated from Spanish to English doesn't have meaning, but this is self-contradictory and an opinion because every language has meaning to it.
Ex: "How saying it's name won't always summon up in Spanish or English the full blown genii from the bottled nombre."
Alvarez uses this metaphor to tell about the nature of the language. The language can't always describe what it wants to name because it's not good enough.
There aren't variation(s) because all 6 stanzas end with the same 6 words
The only variation is the 3 lined envoy to conclude the poem
-Reading a poem & Figures of speech
Voice &Closed/open form
- Saying/suggestion & image
- words & sound
*used for the definitions