"Tony Went To The Bodega But Didn't Buy Anything" By Martin Espada

1214 words - 5 pages

The Irony of the BodegaIn Greek comedy, the eiron was the sly underdog who, by dissembling inferiority, outwitted his opponent. As Aristole puts it, irony is a sharp incongruity between our expectations of things and what actually occurs, as if the universe were mocking us. An amazinling talented song writer, Kurt Cobain lead singer of Nirvana committed suicide on March 5, 1994. Kurt Cobain was enriched with money, fame, and a loving family. The irony of Cobain's death, is why would such a successful person be so unhappy? In the poem "Tony went to the Bodega but didn't buy anything," Martin Espada illustrates being successful comes from happiness and self-actualization.In "Tony went to the Bodega.." Espada shows readers to find happiness you must experience life. For example, Tony's father left the family, leaving a nine year old purtorriqueno boy who had to find work. Years later Tony left the projects too, but with a scholarship for law school. This shows that there was an ultimate goal Tony had set for himself. Working at the Bodega was not what Tony had wanted to do for the rest of his life so he set a goal to educate himself to be successful. Although when Tony went into the cold spring at university in Boston he became home sick. In addition, Tony walked without a map through the city. This also shows that he went without any guidance and he was trying to find something but wasn't concerned with the results. Espada closes the poem saying "today Tony lives on Tremont Street, above the Bodega." This illustration shows readers that Tony could not find happiness in the life style of the rich and the famous and was content and happy to be back in his culture. From beginning to the end Tony ventured from the Bodega to find what he was meant for in life and through that experience Espada shows readers that happiness is beyond wealth and qualifications, you find it from self acceptance.In the poem, Espada uses a fictional persona who is from a cultural background, who is looking for a change. Tony, is a fatherless mongrel-skinny puertorriqueno who grew up in the Long Island city projects. This shows readers that this boy grew up struggling trying to support himself and probably had to help the family with finances since he had to find work. Espada includes the information about Tony's father to present the conflicts he faced throughout his life. In addition, Tony leaves for school and is cursed with the cold spring in Boston that there is no smells from the cooking and no one speaks Spanish. This shows that Tony was attached to his culture and felt alone and discomfort from being away from his background. Espada uses a invulnerable character who is attached to his Spanish atmosphere which portrays the character to find a success from separating himself from the poor upbringing to a better adulthood.In the poem "Tony goes to the Bodega.." that conflict presented is clearly human versus self. For example Espada writes "So Tony walked without a map...

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