Summary Of I Am Not A Cheerleader By Gary Soto

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Gary Soto said, “I’m not a cheerleader. I’m one who provides portraits of people in the rush of life.” By doing so, Soto is able to capture his environment and invite reflection on the past and present, in midst of an ever-changing world aimed for the future. In his poems, Soto uses imagery, nostalgic tone, and use of irony to disclose his feelings about his life and world into a flow of poetry. Gary Soto uses sensory imagery to describe his interpretation of the environment and objects around him. To explain his feelings, Soto reflects on his childhood and how much the environment around him has changed as he grew older as he says, “Where did the shooting stars go? They flit across my childhood sky. And by my teens I no longer looked upward—My …show more content…

For example, Soto finds the shoe in "Earth Day on the Bay", and creates its past history, stating, “A track shoe from the 1970s among seaweed. The race long over, the blue ribbons faded. The trophies deep in pink insulation in the rafters. Perhaps the former distant runner sits in his recliner”(Soto 1-4), stating the glory of the shoe now long gone. This quote represents memory, and how the possible exciting events that occured for the shoe, has passed, washed only into memory, now considered with no regard to its past. “On the News of Your Illness” also reflects on the daughter’s fleeting life by recalling memories of “Handholding, snow caught in your hair”(Soto 11). The narrator asks the daughter to recall the memories to provide a more peaceful mindset as her life is fading, and to create a more peaceful tone to the poem. The poem "What now"? adds memories of the past to its tone. The narrator’s childhood is emphasized to compare the past to a ever-changing technological future, replacing nature itself, stating, “All the small tragedies behind me, the road and the road’s curve up ahead”(Soto 6-7). This signifies the contrast between his childhood and memories of nature and the changing path life has for him, leaving his childhood memories to never truly return to the world. To include his memories and feelings his past has brought …show more content…

An example of this is demonstrated in "Earth Day on the Bay", where Soto spends most of the poem describing the single shoe he finds, only to see “a cargo ship in the distance carrying more, of the same(Soto 17-18). The effect of this is to twist the understanding that the history of the shoe Soto finds is easily replaceable and is already copied with many others just like it. Likewise, in "What now"?, despite the “big white moon on the hill”(Soto 13) and the “lanterns on gravestones”(Soto 14) being present in both his childhood and adulthood, Soto disregards them, choosing to not count them(Soto 18). He twists these potential remnants of his childhood against himself, considering the objects not to be reminders of the past, but rather omniscient objects that have simply been there. Finally, the denial using verbal irony in "On the news of Your Illness" of the narrator is shown, saying, “The cough? What cough? What stinging rubber band against your wrist?”(Soto 3-4). The denial shown in the initial reaction of the narrator and the dying subject adds further complexity of feelings to the event, and provides a unique reaction to a difficult experience. Soto twists readers’ thoughts and reflections on the poems by using irony to enhance certain characteristics of his

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