My first impression of this poem was that it was so interesting.  The poem fascinated me, yet, at the same time, made me wonder how can someone be an immigrant in their own land.  A line that especially intrigued me is, “We came here to get away from false promises”. Did they set their expectations too high for wherever they migrated?

What’s happening in the poem is that someone has so much expectation of the American dream yet the system fails him because he is treated poorly. What I know about the speaker is that they are the kind of person who is almost fed up with his current life. . .  This is suggested by “The doctors don’t care, our bodies decay, our minds deteriorate, we learn nothing of value. Our lives don’t get better, we go down quick.”

The speaker seems to be speaking to the government, and perhaps to people who are deciding to migrate.  I say this because “looking around, each with a dream in their heart, thinking they’ll get a chance to change their lives.”

The poem springs from the culture that the American dream is all lollipops and bubble gums which are influenced by the movies and T.V. shows they see. The poem revolves around several themes, including  Change and Regret.

If this poem were a question, the answer would be “What does it feel like to be an immigrant”.  If it were an answer, the question would be “ A prisoner at its finest” The title suggests that most people who immigrants are treated very badly and not even cared for.    

The poem’s form is a free verse.   This form is a vehicle for the content of the poem.  If the poem were an Epic, it would not guide me toward an understanding of the poem’s meaning.  The poet was able to express his feelings and thoughts clearly because of the structure of the poem.


CC BY-SA 4.0 Close Reading of “Immigrants In Our Own Land” by Jimmy Santiago Baca by Keeba is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.


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