Bully - Martin EspadaProblems at the bottom   Historical Background-   Maryin Espada was born in Brooklyn in 1957. He recieved a bachelor's degree from the University of Wisconsin and a law degree from Northeastern University. A poet who publishes regularly, Espada teaches creative writing at the University of Massachusetts.    Poem Bully - Martin EspadaIn the school auditorium,the Theodore Roosevelt statueis nostalgicfor the Spanish-American wareach fist lonely for a saber,or the reins of anguish-eyed horses,or a podium to clatter with speechesglorying in the malaria of conquest.But now the Roosevelt schoolis pronounced Hernandez.Puerto Rico has invaded Rooseveltwith its army of Spanish-singing childrenin the hallways,brown children devouringthe stockpiles of the cafeteria,children painting Taino ancestorsthat leap naked across murals.Roosevelt is surroundedby all the faceshe ever shoved in eugenic spiteand cursed as mongrels, skin of one race,hair and cheekbones of another.Once Marines trampedfrom the newsreel of his imagination;now children plot to spray graffitiin parrot-brilliant colorsacross the Victorian mustacheand monocle.  
  • Does historical background help you understand this poem? In what ways? Be specific.
  • How does Espada use imagery and how does this shift as the poem progresses?
  • What words jump out at you? What meaning to they impart to the poem?
  • What overall meanings emerge? In other words, what is the message?
  • Expert Answers

    An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
    I think that this poem is interesting, and it uses history in a unique way. The imagery of war is juxtaposed with the sounds of the poem. You do have to have a background in understanding the events described. I think the poem would make a great supplement to a...

    Unlock
    This Answer Now

    Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

    Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
    I think that this poem is interesting, and it uses history in a unique way. The imagery of war is juxtaposed with the sounds of the poem. You do have to have a background in understanding the events described. I think the poem would make a great supplement to a history lesson on Roosevelt. The poem does not stay in that period. It looks back on Roosevelt at first, and then brings us to reality at the end, and what really happened in Roosevelt's wake.
    Approved by eNotes Editorial Team