El Olvido Poem Analysis

Words: 933
Pages: 4

A Critical Analysis of “El Olvido” by Judith Ortiz Cofer

We all come from different place, mixed backgrounds, and unique situations. While one might not be enthused by their background or origin, it is important that one never forgets about where they came from. Sometimes, it can even be dangerous to forget about our origins, as forgetting increases our likelihood to end up in the same place as we started. Poetry is often times considered to be one of the most powerful written texts, something that can be read verbally to increase its impact, open to interpretation and many meanings. Judith Ortiz Cofer’s poem, “El Olvido”, is no exception to this, filled with meaning not just on the surface, but also below it. Her poem outlines the dangers of forgetting where you came from, how forgetting can be dangerous, letting and intangible object disappear
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Sometimes, as we move around in this increasingly mobile world, we forget about our roots, stop remembering the place that made us who we are, and lose touch with our ancestors. Judith Ortiz Cofer took this advice from her mother and wrote a poem describing the dangers of forgetting one’s homeland. In this poem, “El Olvido”, Cofer utilizes many types of poetic elements to give the poem more meaning. The first of these elements is repetition, which she uses in a few ways. This gives the word “dangerous” power, and insists that it is never forgotten. Next, Cofer utilizes a very unique structure that, when combined with repetition, gives the reader a sense of seriousness. It isolates the word dangerous, making it seem avoidable unless one does the action that precedes it. Additionally, Cofer makes use of imagery, talking about native elements from her homeland that give readers a sense of what it is like to live there. Poems are powerful, and their power can only be increased, giving additional meaning and value to the literary