Just as the persona said “and leaving you / again and again” during her last words to her father, we sometimes have to make sacrifices for the sake of something we hold important. The persona, like many of us today, values the significance of our family for they are an integral part of our lives and we shall see on this literary analysis on Jessica Hagedorn’s “Song for my Father” how she handled this particular event in her life.
Aside from the persona’s choice of words, or the premise that the author of this poem is also a female, who could’ve drawn from her own experiences to construct the character of the persona, there are other factual evidences to which we can determine that the persona is indeed a woman, such as the line “lorenza paints my nails blue.” One more distinct feature that could help us identify the image of our persona is that she is of Filipino ancestry. This is evident on lines 29 -31 “in new york / they ask me if i’m puerto rican / and do i live in queens?” where the persona is being associated as a South American probably because of her skin color, which is brown just like those of Filipinos.
Throughout the beginning of the poem, it can be assumed that the persona is going through some confusion with regards to her visit back to the Philippines. She is perplexed; mainly because of the reason that she is unclear as to why she returned here in the first place, when even the residents here are dreading to get out of the country. As a matter of fact, most of the inhabitants here generally sense a feeling of disinclination when it comes to life in the Philippines, especially on its present state. The persona also illustrates the various settings of the Filipino community that causes a difficult living environment – the warm climate, the roaches scurrying about and the current political matters taking place. To support this assumption, lines 6-11 states how she really feels about moving back to her home country in contrast with how other people feel: “people staring out / from airport cages thousands of miles / later / and i have not yet understood my obsession to / return”. She could not comprehend the emotions she has towards the very place where she came from and this disturbs her deeply. Later on, we will also observe that in her confusion, she even attempts to devote much of her effort to try to integrate her experience living in the Philippines rather than focusing at her experiences as an individual.
As we go through the following stanzas of the poem, we now develop a clearer view on why the persona did return back to the Philippines. It turns out that the issue she has with her father has caused her a great deal of misery during her stay abroad and now that she has returned, she is completely overjoyed with the idea of spending time with him. As she explains on the lines: “letters are the memory / i carry with me / the unspoken name / of you / my father” the only remembrance she had of her father while she was away...