Colibri Themes

Martín Espada
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Language

One of the primary ways that colonizing powers subjugate a people is through language. The colonizer's act of naming and renaming the world of the colonized forces the less powerful to see themselves through the eyes of the occupiers, rather than through their own eyes. Espada foregrounds the diabolical nature of this practice by listing it along with guns as the primary weapon the Spanish used on the native Borinquens.

Espada provides two examples of renaming, "colibrí" and "Taino." The Spaniards called the native Arawak Taino, and they dubbed the hummingbird colibrí. The poem itself extends the metaphor comparing the former to the latter. Ironically, although the final image of the poem is one of liberation, there is no escaping from the circle of the oppressor's language, as it becomes part of the fabric of the way that the oppressed view and experience life. The poem's...

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This section contains 528 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the Colibri Study Guide
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Poetry for Students
Colibri from Poetry for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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