Julia Alvarez’s poem “How I Learned to Sweep” is a beautiful and moving poem about a young girl learning to sweep her house. Julia Alvarez was born in the Dominican Republic and came to the United States when she was ten years old. She has written many poems and novels about her experience as a Latina immigrant in America. “How I Learned to Sweep” is one of her most famous poems.
The poem begins with the speaker describing how her mother taught her to sweep the floors. She recalls how she would watch her mother sweeping and how she would imitate her. The speaker then describes how, over time, she learned to love sweeping. She says that it makes her feel like she is taking care of her home and her family.
The poem ends with the speaker saying that she will never forget how her mother taught her to sweep. She says that it is one of the most important things she has learned in her life.
In Julia Alvarez’s “How I Learned to Sweep,” the narrator uses an elaborate metaphor, similes, and imagery to convey the impression that she is not in her finest mental condition. To express the narrator’s dread of the bad things in her life, Alvarez employs the metaphor of sweeping. The tale of how a little girl learns to sweep is revealed in “How I Learned to Sweep.”
The poem starts with the line, “I was six when my father died” (Alvarez 1). This opening sets a somber mood for the poem. It also tells the reader that the narrator has had to grow up quickly. The rest of the poem is written in first person point of view, which allows readers to feel closer to the speaker.
The speaker’s mother tries to teach her how to sweep, but she does not want to learn. She is afraid of doing it wrong and making a mess. The Poem goes on to say, “I wanted / to keep the house clean for my mami, / but I was clumsy” (Alvarez 3-5). This shows that the speaker is not only afraid of making a mess, but also wants to please her mother.
The poem continues with the speaker learning how to sweep and becoming good at it. She says, “I learned / to make my broom dance across the floor, / to jump the cracks, to twirl” (Alvarez 6-8). The Poem ends with the line, “Sometimes / when I am sweeping, I forget / my sorrows” (Alvarez 9-11). This shows that even though the speaker has had a tough life, she can still find happiness in everyday things.
Julia Alvarez uses an extended metaphor of sweeping throughout the entire poem. She uses sweeping to represent the act of pushing away her problems. The poem starts with the speaker’s father dying, which is a big problem for her. She does not want to deal with it, so she tries to sweep it under the rug. The speaker says, “I wanted / to keep the house clean for my mami, / but I was clumsy” (Alvarez 3-5). This shows that the speaker is trying to sweep her father’s death away.
The speaker also uses sweeping as a way to forget her sorrows. She says, “Sometimes / when I am sweeping, I forget / my sorrows” (Alvarez 9-11). This shows that even though she has had a tough life, she can still find happiness in everyday things. Julia Alvarez uses sweeping as an extended metaphor for the act of pushing away her problems.
The mother had always swept the floor, but she never taught her daughter. The television attracts the girl’s attention once she has finished sweeping the floor of the house. Images from today’s war, The Vietnam War, start to enter her mind. She becomes interested when she looks away from the television and understands that the floor on which she had been sweeping does not seem to be clean any more.
Julia Alvarez’s poem “How I Learned to Sweep” is a coming-of-age story in which the young protagonist learns about both the reality of the world and her own place in it.
While the girl in the poem is never named, we can see that she is living in poverty based on the description of her house. She is also likely latchkey kid, as she is home alone when she begins sweeping. The act of sweeping becomes a metaphor for the girl’s journey into adulthood. As she sweeps, she becomes more aware of the world around her and her own place in it.
The poem starts with a simple description of the girl’s daily routine. She watches her mother sweep and then imitates her when she is finished with her own chores. The girl is content in her simple world until she sees the images of war on television. This is a pivotal moment in the poem, as the girl realizes that there is more to the world than her small town and her poor house.
The girl’s innocence is shattered by the realization that there is suffering and violence in the world. She can no longer sweep away her problems and Pretend they don’t exist. The final stanza of the poem shows the girl coming to terms with her new understanding of the world. She may not be able to change her circumstances, but she can still find beauty in her everyday life.
Alvarez’s poem is a powerful story of one girl’s journey into adulthood. It is a reminder that even in the midst of difficult times, we can still find hope and beauty in our everyday lives.
She resumes sweeping, but the images she saw on television were too much for her to process. Her mother walks into the room and switches off the television, and it appears as if the floor has been cleaned. The dirt that was scattered throughout the floor represented the narrator’s mental state.
The act of sweeping also can be seen as a way to cleanse oneself. Julia Alvarez’s poem “How I Learned to Sweep” is about a young girl who witnesses a news program that shows the aftermath of a bombing in her country. The narrator is upset by what she sees and tries to sweep the floor to forget what she has seen.
The poem starts with the line, “I was six when they bombed our town.” This immediately gives us a sense of place and time. We know that the narrator is from a town that was bombed, and that it happened when she was six years old. The next two lines tell us that the narrator saw the event on television. She says, “I saw it on TV, / the smoke and fire / and people running.” These lines tell us that the narrator was affected by what she saw on the news. She was upset by the images of smoke and fire, and the people running away from the bombing.
The next few lines of the poem describe the act of sweeping. The narrator says, “I grabbed the broom / and swept our room. / I swept and swept / until the floor was clean.” We can see that the act of sweeping was a way for the narrator to forget what she had seen on television. She was trying to cleanse herself of the images of violence and destruction.
The final lines of the poem tell us that even though the narrator was able to forget the images of the bombing, they still haunted her. She says, “But at night / I saw the smoke and fire / and people running / in my dreams.” These lines show us that the events of the bombing were still very present in the narrator’s mind, even though she had tried to forget them.
Julia Alvarez’s poem “How I Learned to Sweep” is a powerful poem about a young girl who witnesses a news program that shows the aftermath of a bombing in her country. The narrator is upset by what she sees and tries to sweep the floor to forget what she has seen. However, even though she is able to forget the images of the bombing during the daytime, they still haunt her in her dreams.