The Chicano Movement


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Lorna Dee Cervantes (Born Aug. 6, 1964 - Present)

Lorna Dee Cervantes is a feminist, activist poet who is considered one of the major Chicana poets of the past 40 years.She is one of the major voices in Chicana literature, poet Lorna Dee Cervantes writing evokes and explores cultural difference-between Mexican, Anglo, Native American, and African American lives- as well as the divides of gender and economics. Born in San Francisco in 1954 to Mexican and Native American ancestry, Cervantes was discouraged from speaking Spanish at home in an attempt to protect he from the racism prevalent at that time; this loss of language and subsequent inability to fully identify with her heritage fueled her later poetry.

Refugee Ship

Like wet cornstarch, I slide

past my grandmother's eyes. Bible

at her side, she removes her glasses.

The pudding thickens.

Mama raised me without language.

I'm orphaned from my Spanish name.

The words are foreign, stumbling

on my tongue. I see in the mirror

my reflection: bronzed skin, black hair.

I feel I am a captive

aboard the refugee ship.

The ship that will never dock.

El barco que nunca atraca.

We are not a minority- This picture connects with Refugee Ship because the Hispanic people and the author should not be discriminated. The people during this period get segregated for no reason and get treated unfairly.

Aztlan- This picture relates with the Hispanic roots that Luerna Dee Cervantes has. Most Mexican-Americans in the United States get discriminated because of their appearance by other people. They don't get the same type of respect as white people do because of where they come from.

Sun Mad- This last picture goes with the tone and voice of Lorna Dee Cervantes, she feels uncomfortable and disturbed because of the way people get treated. The Sun Mad sceenprint designed by Ester Hernandez also explains what she thinks about the rights that Chicanos do not get. The picture expresses her anger at the human and environment cost of pesticide use in California.


Theme- A poem having to do with separation or being segregated from other people for a specific reason.

Paraphrase- In "Refugee Ship'by Lorna Dee Cervantes, the poetic subject experiences an identity crisis. She feels something between the United States and Mexican culture, respectively those of her mother and father. By virtue of being brought up in only one of those cultures, she feels the loss of the other.

Connotation- Dee Cervantes literal usage throughout the poem says, "Like wet cornstarch, I slide past my grandmother's eyes." The grandmother serves as a metaphor for tradition, heritage, and familial inclusion.

Attitude- Her attitude's prevents the poetic subject from feeling truly at home from in either culture.

Shift- Her voice thoroughly shifts the she speaks abut her not feeling comfortable with one of her cultures. She feels regret at first and pain towards the end of her poem. For example when she said, " I feel I am a captive aboard a refugee ship. That will never dock." This explains her tone of sadness.

Title- Lorna describes about the way she feels living in both an American and Mexican culture. She feels uncomfortable and separated from one culture than from the other.

Theme- The exploration if the mirror serves not as a source of strength, but as a catalyst that reveals an inner turmoil.

Chicano Movement Music: Maná - Latinoamérica

This song would of inspired Lorna Dee Cervantes while writing some of her work because it explains the rights that most hispanics/latinos/chicanos have in our country. Nobody should be discriminated in the U.S or around the world. We are all humans and therefore we should all respect ourselves and live in peace.

One of the verse from the song say:

"Están discriminando latinos

No me parece que tienen razón
Somos gente que nunca se raja
Ante cualquier situación
Vamos a mostrar quienes somos
Con coraje y valor"

"They are discriminating against Latinos

I do not think they are right

We are people who never give up In any situation

Let us show who we are

With courage and value"