Alabanza. Praise the cook with a shaven head
and a tattoo on his shoulder that said Oye,
a blue-eyed Puerto Rican with people from Fajardo,
the harbor of pirates centuries ago.
Praise the lighthouse in Fajardo, candle
glimmering white to worship the dark saint of the sea.
Alabanza. Praise the cook’s yellow Pirates cap
worn in the name of Roberto Clemente, his plane
that flamed into the ocean loaded with cans for Nicaragua,
for all the mouths chewing the ash of earthquakes.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen radio, dial clicked
even before the dial on the oven, so that music and Spanish
rose before bread. Praise the bread. Alabanza.
Praise Manhattan from a hundred and seven flights up,
like Atlantis glimpsed through the windows of an ancient aquarium.
Praise the great windows where immigrants from the kitchen
could squint and almost see their world, hear the chant of nations:
Ecuador, México, Republica Dominicana,
Haiti, Yemen, Ghana, Bangladesh.
Alabanza. Praise the kitchen in the morning,
where the gas burned blue on every stove
and exhaust fans fired their diminutive propellers,
hands cracked eggs with quick thumbs
or sliced open cartons to build an altar of cans.
Alabanza. Praise the busboy’s music, the chime-chime
of his dishes and silverware in the tub.
Alabanza. Praise the dish-dog, the dishwasher
who worked that morning because another dishwasher
could not stop coughing, or because he needed overtime
to pile the sacks of rice and beans for a family
floating away on some Caribbean island plagued by frogs.
Alabanza. Praise the waitress who heard the radio in the kitchen
and sang to herself about a man gone. Alabanza.
After the thunder wilder than thunder,
after the shudder deep in the glass of the great windows,
after the radio stopped singing like a tree full of terrified frogs,
after night burst the dam of day and flooded the kitchen,
for a time the stoves glowed in darkness like the lighthouse in Fajardo,
like a cook’s soul. Soul I say, even if the dead cannot tell us
about the bristles of God’s beard because God has no face,
soul I say, to name the smoke-beings flung in constellations
across the night sky of this city and cities to come.
Alabanza I say, even if God has no face.
Alabanza. When the war began, from Manhattan and Kabul
two constellations of smoke rose and drifted to each other,
mingling in icy air, and one said with an Afghan tongue:
Teach me to dance. We have no music here.
And the other said with a Spanish tongue:
I will teach you. Music is all we have.
Literary Analysis and Close Reading
Figurative language vs. Literal
Literal language – When artists use plain (or fancy) words to convey what they mean in concrete terms. For example: I am upset. I am in love. The dog died.
Figurative language – When artists use figures of speech to be more effective, persuasive, or impactful. For example: I see red. My love is like a red, red rose. The dog walked over rainbow bridge.
In our first reading of the semester, Martin Espada tells a story of 9/11 in his poem “Alabanza.” As a poet, Espada has done his job by crafting this poem, but it is up to the reader (us) to decide what it ultimately means. And, unlike the math textbooks of my younger days, there is no answer on page 527 at the back of the book to let us check to see if we got “the” answer right.
Before you continue, please enjoy a musical interlude.
I do not want to give you the impression that interpreting a text is without challenge because part of interpreting a text is convincing your readers to accept your interpretation. And this can be tricky. Think of the case of Lil Nas X’s “Old Town Road.” Some have interpreted this song and have argued that not only does it fall into the Country genre, it should have been considered for the Country Music Charts. Others vehemently disagree. To make their case, each side might analyze not only structural elements such as beat, rhythm, and tempo but also content or lyrics.
In other words, their analysis and ensuing argument is highly organized. Much like these Lil Nax X fans, when we analyze literature, we are also trying to get at what something might mean, and we do so using some pretty specific methods.
To arrive at a particular meaning, we keep moving back and forth between understanding small points and the ways in which the small points build (even when they contradict) to create an overall point.
Author vs. Narrator vs. Characters vs. Literary Analyst
Author: The author is the creator/writer of the text (poem, short story, play, novel, painting, song, and so on).
Narrator: This is the person or people who are telling the story. As noted above, there are different types of narration – and some of those narrators are untrustworthy.
Characters: The people who exist in the text.
Literary Analyst: This is the person who analyzes a text and who makes a particular argument. The literary analyst will look at words and/or images and listen to sounds and then make the argument that something is a metaphor .. or a symbol ..or contributes to a theme.
Alliteration – when a group of words all have the same first sound.
Allusion – brief, indirect reference to a person, place, thing or idea that creates additional meaning. To “riff.”
Anaphora – deliberate repetition of words and phrases from the first part of a sentence.
Antihero – A protagonist who has the opposite attributes of a hero.
Assonance – repetition of internal vowel sounds in nearby words that do not end the same – for example: “asleep under a tree” or “each evening” or “asleep in the deep.”
Catharsis – the release of the emotions of pity and fear by the audience at the end of a tragedy.
Character, characterization – a person presented in a dramatic or narrative work, and characterization is the process by which a writer make that character seem real to the reader.
Conflict – The struggle within the plot between opposing forces. The PROTAGONIST engages in the conflict with the ANTAGONIST, which may take the form of a character, society, nature, or an aspect of the protagonist’s personality.
Connotation – Associations and implications that go beyond the literal meaning of a word, which derive from how the word has been commonly used and the associations people make of it. I.e.: red = blood/danger; eagle = freedom. These are cultural constructions.
Denotation – The dictionary meaning of a word.
Didactic poetry – Poetry designed to teach an ethical, moral, or religious lesson.
Elegy – A mournful, contemplative lyric poem to commemorate someone who is dead, often ending in consolation.
Epiphany – When a character suddenly experiences a deep realization about him or her or their self.
Foil – A character in a work whose behavior and values contrast with those of another character in order to highlight the distinctive temperament of that character.
Foreshadowing – The introduction early on in a story of verbal and dramatic hints that suggest what is to come later.
Form – The overall structure or shape of a work, which frequently follows an established design.
Genre – “Type” as in type of literature. Some examples are poetry, fiction, drama, and essays.
Hyperbole – exaggeration such as “I am dying of shame.”
Imagery – using figurative language to appeal to a person’s senses.
Irony – words are used in a way that the intended meaning is different. This speaks to the difference between appearance and reality.
Metaphor – implicit, hidden, or implied comparison with two unrelated things.
Narrator -The voice of the person (not the author!!) telling the story.
Onomatopoeia – A word that imitates the natural sound such as “gushing” stream or “whisper.”
Oxymoron – two opposite ideas are joined to create an effect such as “cruel kindness.” This typically happens between just a few words.
Paradox – something that is contradictory but true. Paradox is close to oxymoron but happens on the sentence level. Consider Orwell’s writing: “All animals are equal, but some are more equal than others.” (Animal Farm)
Personification – thing, idea, or an animal given human attributes. This gives the reader the ability to look at something as a human, which many argue helps us to understand the idea, thing, or animal better.
Point of view – this refers to who tells us a story and how it is told.
Protagonist – The main character of a narrative; its central character who engages the reader’s interest and empathy.
Resolution – The conclusion of a plot’s conflict and complications. This is also known as “falling action” following the climax.
Sarcasm – to speak bitterly.
Simile – A comparison using “like” or “as”.
Subject – big idea of the text.
Symbolism – an object that is itself and something more.
Theme – main idea – or the thing that is being captured.
Why Choose Us
We value our clients. For this reason, we ensure that each paper is written carefully as per the instructions provided by the client. Our editing team also checks all the papers to ensure that they have been completed as per the expectations.
Professional Academic Writers
Over the years, our Acme Homework has managed to secure the most qualified, reliable and experienced team of writers. The company has also ensured continued training and development of the team members to ensure that it keep up with the rising Academic Trends.
Our prices are fairly priced in such a way that ensures affordability. Additionally, you can get a free price quotation by clicking on the "Place Order" button.
We pay strict attention on deadlines. For this reason, we ensure that all papers are submitted earlier, even before the deadline indicated by the customer. For this reason, the client can go through the work and review everything.
At Papers Owl, all papers are plagiarism-free as they are written from scratch. We have taken strict measures to ensure that there is no similarity on all papers and that citations are included as per the standards set.
Customer Support 24/7
Our support team is readily available to provide any guidance/help on our platform at any time of the day/night. Feel free to contact us via the Chat window or support email: email@example.com.
Try it now!
How it works?
Follow these simple steps to get your paper done
Place your order
Fill in the order form and provide all details of your assignment.
Proceed with the payment
Choose the payment system that suits you most.
Receive the final file
Once your paper is ready, we will email it to you.
Papers Owl has stood as the world’s leading custom essay writing services providers. Once you enter all the details in the order form under the place order button, the rest is up to us.
At Papers Owl, we prioritize on all aspects that bring about a good grade such as impeccable grammar, proper structure, zero-plagiarism and conformance to guidelines. Our experienced team of writers will help you completed your essays and other assignments.
Admission and Business Papers
Be assured that you’ll definitely get accepted to the Master’s level program at any university once you enter all the details in the order form. We won’t leave you here; we will also help you secure a good position in your aspired workplace by creating an outstanding resume or portfolio once you place an order.
Editing and Proofreading
Our skilled editing and writing team will help you restructure you paper, paraphrase, correct grammar and replace plagiarized sections on your paper just on time. The service is geared toward eliminating any mistakes and rather enhancing better quality.
We have writers in almost all fields including the most technical fields. You don’t have to worry about the complexity of your paper. Simply enter as much details as possible in the place order section.