When someone thinks of a hurricane, it is not often that fruit is the first thing that comes to their mind. In “Problems with Hurricanes,” Victor Hernandez Cruz brings mangoes and bananas to center stage in the midst of a hurricane. The poem, as told through the eyes of a “campesino” (a native of a Latin-American rural area), gives the fruit a dangerous, deadly part in contributing to casualties during a hurricane (Webster’s 178). The campesino believes that death by produce is a dishonorable way to die and points out that people need to be aware of the things that may be happening around them because there is a possibility that they don’t appear as all that they are. Throughout “Problems with Hurricanes,” Cruz reveals that the most beautiful sweet things can be the most dangerous.
A flower or dove or the goddess Aphrodite are all easily associated with beauty, but the color red or warnings are associated with danger. Humans as a whole don’t normally associate beauty with danger. However, in some rare, unexpected scenarios, for example, a hurricane, the beautiful things can become the danger. The campesino points this out when he references flying fruits being deadly amidst the winds of a hurricane. “A mango smashing/ [someone’s] skull/ or a plantain hitting [their]/ temple at 70 miles per hour,” are his examples of the fruits causing death (Cruz 786, 20-23). The fruits he mentions, mangoes and plantains, are symbols of all sweet, beautiful things with their flowering blossoms and vibrant colors. Neither shows any signs or symbols of being dangerous, but according to the campesino, when thrown about in a hurricane,
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they can be dangerous enough to cause death. Even though a symbol can portray an object or feeling as beautiful, that doesn’t mean the object can’t be manipulated to cause something to be looked at, imagined, or pictured as dangerous.
There are some words that, if put together just right, can put a picture in anyone’s mind. In one of Cruz’s stanzas where the campesino is speaking, the words do just that: “It’s the mangoes, avocados/ Green plantains and bananas/ flying into town like projectiles” (Cruz 786, 6-8). This quote creates a picture of these bright, vivid, ripe fruits shooting into town, riding the winds, as if shot from a...