In his poem “Letter From a Contract Writer,” Antonio Jacinto assumes the persona of a lovesick laborer who is working far away from home—and the woman he adores.
Diction is defined as word choice. The connotations of the words in all but the last stanza of the poem are romantic or sexual. The speaker uses words like “desire,” “yearning,” “intimate,” “caresses,” “passion,” and “hot.” All of these suggest the speaker’s lust for his lover.
The diction of the poem establishes an admiring, passionate tone as the speaker compares his lover’s features to various things he finds beautiful.
Mood, which is how the author intends readers to feel, is created through tone. Readers are supposed to be swept up in the speaker’s passion, wishing he could be reunited with the woman he figuratively worships. One could say the mood is wistful.
To determine the theme, or underlying message, it is important to note the changes in tone and mood that come in the last stanza. The speaker repeats the word “why” to express his frustration at not being able to write the letter he has heretofore described. He uses exclamation points and dashes to indicate an agitated feeling. When the speaker reveals that he can’t write and his lover can’t read, the reader feels the speaker’s agony over his unexpressed emotions.
Theme in this poem could relate to either language or education. Since the title of the poem emphasizes the speaker’s impoverished working-class identity, I will focus on the education theme. Jacinto comments on how limited access to education prevents people from expressing themselves to the world. The speaker’s inability to write down everything he feels is the fault of a lacking education. Yet, the speaker is clearly a creative, intelligent individual who has something to offer the world. This shows that limiting one’s education limits one’s ability to be who one truly is.