Will you explain the meaning of the Peruvian Child poem by Pat Mora?

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literaturenerd | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Educator Emeritus

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The poem "The Peruvian Child", by Pat Mora, is a poem about the differences of cultures.

The narrator of the poem is obviously a tourist to the land as denoted by the following line fragment: "our guide said." The narrator wishes to create a mental picture of the child she comes across in the street. The child, with "mud-crusted hands or feet or face", does not create the image the tourist wishes to take home with her. Instead, it creates a very negative and sorrowful image for her.

There is also fear seen in the faces of the locals. They seem fearful of the people, different from them, who have invaded their lives.

In the end, the poem speaks to the fact that, many times, when "we" are on vacations or in areas very different from ours, we fail to understand the minds of those who live there. We do not wish to remember our excursion as one which brings us sorrow. Instead, we wish to fill these moments with memories which bring us happiness.

The image of the child, sitting in the middle of the street, does not offer the perfect and picturesque image we wish to embed in our minds.