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In the poem, "I am Joaquin/ Yo soy Joaquin", what makes the speaker an epic hero?  Who...

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r0zuhbella | Student, Grade 11 | eNotes Newbie

Posted December 12, 2009 at 1:19 PM via web

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In the poem, "I am Joaquin/ Yo soy Joaquin", what makes the speaker an epic hero?  Who is the hero?


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Michelle Ossa | College Teacher | (Level 3) Educator Emeritus

Posted December 22, 2009 at 3:33 AM (Answer #1)

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There's a bit of controversy on this one, especially because many critics claim that Gonzales was just an angry Chicano mixing his own political preferences in a somewhat poetic way. Yet, the reality is that what makes the character of Joaquin into an epic here is that he places himself as if in the middle of a battle. His one-man battle is against major monsters: Society, identity, history, culture, circumstances. He also uses the terms "victor/vanquished" and the reference to himself using the powerful phrase "I am" has the characteristic of self-portrayed her.

He would then be deemed an epic hero due to the nature of his personal battle, and how small he feels in comparison to the world around him. Yet, the mere fact that he is willing to take on the fight makes him a hero.

I am the masses of my people and
I refuse to be absorbed.
I am Joaquín.
The odds are great
but my spirit is strong,
my faith unbreakable,
my blood is pure.
I am Aztec prince and Christian Christ.
I SHALL ENDURE!
I WILL ENDURE!
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jafo55 | eNotes Newbie

Posted March 5, 2010 at 11:56 AM (Answer #2)

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After years of reciting the Poem I Am Joaquin (40), I have come to find that we all are Joaquin. This poem was and still is the corner post of the Chicano Movement. It cites our history. Where we come from and where we are going. It up to Raza to keep our culture alive, whether it be through lowriding or keeping a 4.0 G.P.A. We are a people who will not be ignored. Yes Corky was angry when he wrote this poem but he did not orget his people. He stated a school in Denver (Escuela Tlatelolco) K-12 which is still going to educate the youth in Denver. In essence Joaquin is the hero, Corky is the hero, I am the hero, You are the hero, We all are the heroes because we are from a line of very important people. We have stopped asking We now demand!!! 

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