Formalist Criticism on "Waiting on the Curb: Lynwood California, 1967"

662 Words May 4th, 2010 3 Pages
Marquetta Brown Eng 241 J. Zeff Formalist Criticism

The poem ‘Waiting oat the curb: Lynwood California, 1967 written by Deborah Escobedo is about a young girl named Debbie in Lynwood, California who is waiting on a friend at the curb. When first examining the title of the poem, I think of waiting on the curb as a sign of prostitution or hitchhiking. They way I imagine the scene of the poem is; a hot summer day in an urban area in Lynwood, California. I imagine Debbie’s father outside a small white house watering the lawn. In the poem the characters were Debbie, mother, father, neighbor, a friend, and America. Even though the friend and America didn’t have lines in the poem the still had an effect on how the
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“She thinks and spins the music of her time”. She is dressed in cut offs, “Cut too short”, and a gypsy blouse. It appears that she could be possibly day dreaming this event while she is waiting on the curb. The poet made the reader pay attention to the details of Debbie’s attire. By saying a gypsy blouse it makes the reader picture something seductive and showing skin and cleavage. The tone of the poem changes when “America is getting ready.” The author is taking about the people and the world around the characters in the poem, referring to the people as “America”. She then describes what America is doing around her. “America is shoveling ice cream into Tupperware bowls,/America is setting up trays in front of snowy TVs.” At this point in the poem she brings forth a reality. Debbie comes to a realization at this point as well. She begins to pull at her shorts that have risen up form being cut to short. I can picture Debbie looking at everything around her with the woman in curls yelling at her own old man then Debbie saying, “I gotta get outta here,/ It seems as if at this point she is unsatisfied with where she is at and the culminating events made her realize that this is not the life she wants. Overall the poem told a story. The author’s diction made the reader key into certain areas of the poem. The way the poem was presented on the page also had an effect on the way the poem was

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