Small Town with One Road, by Gary Soto

Small Town with One Road, by Gary Soto

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A. Title: The title of this poem suggests that it is about a small country town with one road, most likely in the middle of nowhere. Very few people and very few things around for a person to do with their free time.
B. Paraphrase: We could be here. This is the valley and its highway which
rabbits can't get across but kids can. They jump to the store with sweetness on
their tongues. They watch for fun. Dimes fall from their palms to pay for the
candies they eat on the way home. There are lots of dogs and cats and chickens
at the house. A pot bangs and water runs in the kitchen, beans are getting
cooked for dinner. Brown soup for the the men who work the fields. No matter
what race, its hard for anyone who does work in the fields. The cotton gin is a
major factor in the money dream and the mill makes money for a wife-and maybe
my wife, who boxed peaches and plums and hoed her dad's fields as a girl. We
could go back. I could lose this easy job I have. Just talking and using a shovel, a
hoe, a broom that takes everything away. All my daughter does is worry. She
touches my hand and we eat snow cones from a roadside vendor in the shade
while we look around. Behind sunglasses I see where I once was. A brow kid
getting across the road. “he's like me,” I tell my daughter and she stops eating
her snow cone. He looks both was then leaps across the road where riches
happen on red tongues.
C. Connotations:The poem is written in free verse with no rhyme or rhythm to be
found. The speaker is seeing himself in someone else's actions like a flash back to the time when he was at that age. The poet uses a metaphor to describe the kids as “Spectators of fun.” Gary Soto also uses personification when he states that the, “pot bangs and water runs...”
D. Attitude:The speaker is a father, a worker of the fields. His attitude is one of childishness and relaxation. He is eating snow cones with his daughter and talking about when he was a kid and now as an adult. The attitude of the poet is that this is just the way of life in the small towns and the farming towns are pretty much all boring and monotonous.

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E. Shifts:There are not any shifts in speaker for this poem. The times sort of change though, like a flashback to the speakers childhood. The shift in attitude occurs after line twelve when the poem gets serious about the cooking and work in the fields and loss of jobs. This is significant because it sobers the reader and makes them realize the troubles that could be faced by field workers.
F. Title: After reading the poem, the title could hint towards the problems a person could face in such a small town. However, it could also be how once you get into a situation, there can only be one real way out, that one road that people keep jumping across.
G. Theme: The theme of this poem could be how the kids get to have fun but the adults must keep in mind that they have family to raise and they must do s through the work they put forth in the fields. It is also very easy to lose that job and without that, where would the family be.
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