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American Passages: A Literary SurveyUnit IndexAmerican Passages Home
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5. Masculine Heroes   

12. Migrant

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•  Activities
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Activities: Author Activities

Alberto Ríos - Author Questions

Back Back to Alberto Ríos Activities
  1. Comprehension: In "Advice to a First Cousin," the speaker combines humor and superstition with wisdom. In the second part of the poem, who are the "scorpions" about which grandmother speaks? What is the moral? Why does this poem fit well into the oral tradition of storytelling?

  2. Comprehension: "Refugio's Hair" tells how a woman's hair had to be cut off. What gives this poem its mythic quality? Instead of just telling a story, how does this poem incorporate religious or cultural icons?

  3. Comprehension: What two cultures are represented in "Day of the Refugios"? Are they given equal time in the poem?

  4. Context: Compare and contrast Ríos's poem "Seniors" with the ending of Viramontes's novel Under the Feet of Jesus or Anaya's story "The Christmas Play." What similar images and themes are displayed? How does the verse presentation differ from the prose presentations?

  5. Exploration: In 1965, Congress amended the Immigration and Nationality Act, repealing the national-origin quotas and race-based policies that had all but prohibitied the entrance of "less desirable" people who might not have had the "capacity to assimilate." This legislative change profoundly impacted U.S. demographics, allowing for an ethnic heterogeneity that went against the grain of "melting pot" cultural homogeneity. Research this topic, while also comparing the experiences of marginalized or oppressed groups as documented by authors writing before and after this date. Consider too a prominent theme in Ríos's work -- that cultures can be woven together, preserving their best parts, without losing their unique traditions.

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