Elias Miguel Munoz is the author of "Little sister Born in this land" a poem that describes changes in childhood lifestyles between the speaker and his sister. Childhood is a time full of discovery, exploration, creativity, and imagination. To make childhood life enjoyable, siblings must share experiences which make a common thread. In this poem, the speaker and his sister grew up in different places and conditions and hence they had different childhood experiences. The speaker is older and was brought up in a different country and laments the changes he sees in his sister's childhood. In the poem, the speaker is sad when he realizes the changes in his sister's childhood such as change of country, language, traditions, technology and experiences. The speaker reacts by rejecting the changes he notices in his sister's language and urges that her days are full of many experiences.
One of the changes the speaker is reaching out is that his sister is growing up with many things and experiences that fill her days while during his childhood, he had little to fill his days. The speaker was full of curiosity and imagination when growing up, but his sister is occupied with many things and has no room for imagination. According to the speaker, he had more exciting days compared to his sister when he would take a walk and get thrilled by the sensory experiences and the different sights he watched. In line 67-68 the speaker says "that warm and always open earth" showing that he loved taking a nature walk. He liked discovering new things and searching nesting chicken and wanted to know how their life would be if they had chicks for example "the mystery in the ravines" (29). His speaker childhood life is active and full of discovery but these experiences change when they vacate in a new country where his sister was born.
The speaker feels that his sister's childhood life is stagnant and inactive because she spends all her days indoors watching cartoons rather than getting out of the house to discover life for herself. He is worried that his sister would never know those excitement feelings of discovering and exploring life and this is demonstrated when he asks "is there anywhere I your childhood a similar feeling?" (22). The speaker is resistant to the changes in his sister childhood since he feels that it makes a child "a little clown, plastic and even ridiculous" (48). Her sister and any other kid like her would be like plastic which does not think, feel or make a decision and therefore it is shaped into whatever form the maker wants. She does not make decisions and can be turned into anything she is poured into no matter how bad this would be because she follows others decisions instead of leading the way.
The speaker spent days pretending to be a hero during his childhood as he says "scaring off evil pirates..... brave corsair" (31-32). This hero act has changed because his sister has "only the joy of Disney heroes" (42). The joy of being a hero comes from others imagination and not herself and it hurts her older brother because she would never be self-confident. She has never imagined facing a foe and therefore she cannot develop unique traits without depending on the work of someone else.
The speaker notices change in traditions making his sister to fill her life with insignificant things. She "suffered the mockery of expensive toys that the deceptive ghost of December brings to you" (58). The toys she plays with bring no benefit to her life yet they are expensive. They only improve her hands but leave her weak and soft rather than fit and toned. She calls Santa which according to the speaker is a deceptive December ghost that makes the true meaning of faith and Christmas to disappear. She spends her Christmas days asking Santa what she desire and this tradition has turned her into a selfish person who does not see the greatest gift ever given to men. Her wants are much more than those of her brother since he could make his own toys "toys made of tin" (28). He enjoyed his experiences and wishes that if he had the power it would the same for his younger sister as he says "cannot invent another childhood for you, cannot offer you mine" (54). The speaker complains that his sister is talking a new language that he cannot understand when he says "Each time you intrigue me with your riddles, with your words that will always be foreign to our experience" (16).
In conclusion, the poem "Little sister Born in this land" is full of changes that the speaker rejects because he fills that it makes his sister soft and weak. The speaker does not blame her because he knows it's the fault of the country she was born and raised in. She was born in a different country and speaks in a new language. Her childhood is occupied with a lot of things that keeps her away from discovering and exploring life. Another change is that of tradition where she asks Santa for gifts during Christmas and plays with expensive toys that bring no benefit. She would then continue living her new world full of expensive toys, technology and space flights while her brother remains in his old world because he is still frustrated by this changed life.
Munoz, Elias Miguel. "Little Sister Born In This Land." New Worlds of Literature: Writings from America's Many Cultures. Ed. Jerome Beaty and J. Paul Hunter. New York: Norton, 1994. 152-154.
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