Essay Poetry Help

Hello I need help with my essay. 

Here is the PROMPT: Write an approximately 1,000-word essay in which you demonstrate your

close reading skills with a poem.


ESSAY COMPONENTS: Your essay should be based solely on your own close reading

and interpretation of a poem or short story. No outside sources are allowed. Please use

standard MLA formatting.

 Title: Create a clever and/or descriptive title. I love a good title, so please do

NOT title your essay, “Close Reading Essay.”


 Epigraph: Begin your essay with an epigraph, which is a full quote of the short

passage (or stanzas) you will focus on.


Introduction and Thesis Statement:

o Your first paragraph should introduce the poem/short story as a whole to

the reader. Try to keep summary to a bare minimum, and assume that

your reader is already familiar with the story/poem.

o Your thesis statement (typically the last sentence of the first paragraph)

makes an interpretive claim about the poem/story that grows out of your

close reading of a short section of the text.


 Detailed Close Reading Section: This is the most

important section of your essay. Close reading involves a

fair amount of speculation and associations.

o Be sure to connect each interpretative claim you

make to the specific part of the text that you


o Consider multiple meanings depending on how you

interpret each significant word.



o Whole – Part – Whole (with new understanding)





To live in the borderlands means you

are neither hispana india negra espanola
ni gabacha, eres mestiza, mulata
, half-breed
caught in the crossfire between camps
while carrying all five races on your back
not knowing which side to turn to, run from;

To live in the Borderlands means
knowing that the india in you, betrayed for 500 years,
is no longer speaking to you,
that mexicanas call you rajetas,
that denying the Anglo inside you
is as bad as having denied the Indian or Black;

Cuando vives en la frontera

people walk through you, the wind steals your voice,
you’re a burra, buey, scapegoat,
forerunner of a new race,
half and half–both woman and man, neither–
a new gender;

To live in the Borderlands means to
put chile in the borscht,
eat whole wheat tortillas,
speak Tex-Mex with a Brooklyn accent;
be stopped by la migra at the border checkpoints;

Living in the Borderlands means you fight hard to
resist the gold elixir beckoning from the bottle,
the pull of the gun barrel,
the rope crushing the hollow of your throat;

In the Borderlands
you are the battleground
where enemies are kin to each other;
you are at home, a stranger,
the border disputes have been settled
the volley of shots have shattered the truce
you are wounded, lost in action
dead, fighting back;

To live in the Borderlands means
the mill with the razor white teeth wants to shred off
your olive-red skin, crush out the kernel, your heart
pound you pinch you roll you out
smelling like white bread but dead;

To survive the Borderlands
you must live sin fronteras
be a crossroads.

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