Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 207

In this coming-of-age novel, Elizabeth Acevedo primarily explores themes of identity formation and creativity. In addition, the adolescent’s necessary break from adult authority encompasses themes of race and sexuality, along with Catholic religious beliefs and the difficulty of rejecting the belief system within which one grew up.

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Xiomara is the teenage poet whose identification as “X” ironically identifies her as an individual writer coming into her own creative milieu, and de-individualizes her as a generic person without gender or race. In addition, she has a twin brother, Xavier, who is another “X”; his situation is further complicated because he is gay, a fact they must hide from their mother, Altagracia, a devout Catholic. The restrictions placed on Xiomara, because she is female, lead to deep internal conflicts over her growing awareness sexual desire and concern over her mother’s censure.

Not only writing poetry but also performing in a slam become the vehicle for Xiomara to develop and express her creativity and, finally, to publicly display her changing identity. As a multi-racial person, of African and Latina heritage, Xiomara’s journey to accepting these varied dimensions is complex; Acevedo helps us understand this as both unique to this character and emblematic of the contemporary American experience.

Themes

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Last Reviewed on June 19, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 176

Some of the major themes are self-acceptance, sexism, sexuality, and the rejection of religion through three parts (submission, rebellion, and finally, liberation). The Poet X is a novel written in...

(The entire section contains 383 words.)

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