Our thoughts are sometimes more than just a thought. These thoughts revolve on what takes place on a day-to-day basis. They are created from different situations that mean more than what is written. Authors have this creative way of expressing their pain with words, images, letters, and symbols. These thoughts are not always written but sometimes shown through visual representations. Humberto Ak’abal, author of “At the Side of the Road” and the Pipil people of Izalco from “The Legend of the Original Sin” both connect nature and history to show their readers about their own journeys. For example, “The Legend of the Original Sin” uses multiple figurative devices to make cultural connections with how they treated the old lady in the story.
Nevertheless, Humberto Ak’abal also uses visuals, history, and imagery to demonstrate his self-reflection and personal struggles. Throughout both readings, both authors showed their talents with the complexity of each line written whether it was to symbolize something or to get us to think outside the box. While analyzing these stories in depth, I came to realize that both of these readings share similar emotional traits with different conflicts but both connected to some sort of history. Therefore, “At the Side of the Road” and “The Legend of the Original Sin” both demonstrate that self-reflection is one important thing to remember because this helps determine whether you will blossom with criticism and morals or be punished for forgetting who you really are.
Humberto Ak’abal mentioned in his reading, “I understand that poetry is the lightning that shatters the night of the poet; it does not last long but it is enough to advance a little on the road” (Ak’abal 4). Poetry for him has been his way of telling us his journey by making connections to personal things like his grandmother’s wrinkles, his dead father, his mother, and his teachings of the Maya K’iche. The Maya K’iche has multiple beliefs and connections with the Earth but more importantly, one thing is the wind and sky god. He also mentions, “He taught me to read the storms, to gauge the wind with my fingertips, to interpret the song of the birds, to know the voice of fire, and the behavior of animals.” This right here is what the Maya K’iche looked into. The wind, the fire, the animals, the nature. It all had a meaning.
"Humberto Ak’abal, author of “At the Side of the Road” and the Pipil people of Izalco from “The Legend of the Original Sin” both connect nature and history to show their readers about their own journeys."
Ak’abal carries a deep passion for poetry. He uses imagery in the dream at the beginning to show that poetry brings the bright side out of him when he says, “It was a brilliant, sunny afternoon… where you could smell the fresh perfume of the grass.” The metaphor, “I gave birth to water” is him saying he brought out his passion for poetry. Towards the end of the story, Humberto said he almost lost himself and almost gave up, but poetry gave him the life he thought he lost. Ak’abal expressed his emotion in writing his craft as laughter, crying, and singing. Finally, he shares with us, “Poetry is the echo of the shadow of a bird that flies by at the edge of the afternoon. Finally, I write for myself. I laugh and cry and sometimes sing.” Poetry is Humberto’s escape room from the real world to help let out all his thoughts and emotions that are good and bad. For him to say he sings, it shows the reader that writing poems will always hold a big part of his heart, and this is what truly brightens up his life.
In “The Legend of the Original Sin”, the Pipil people of Izalco's message to the reader is to be grateful to your mother, family, and community or be prepared to be punished by the Universe. Two of the literary devices that are used in the story is imagery where it says, “She pointed her out to the dogs, and they jumped on the old woman.” This is one of the most important parts in the story because it shows how bad the wife and son treated the mother. It was unfair because as mothers, they sacrifice everything for their children and people forget about that and tend to abandon their loved ones when they cannot support themselves anymore. The second literary device that they use in the story is Anaphora with the repetition of “And when”. In those 4 lines, the Pipil people emphasized how serious the outcome of their cruelness and selfishness was when they said they ate them up. Towards the middle of the story, the people around fear that if they get near those who were punished, they might get punished as well. It had a sense of resentment because her son told his wife to hide the food if the old woman were to come.
"Poetry is Humberto’s escape room from the real world to help let out all his thoughts and emotions that are good and bad."
Sinning is something that comes back to get you at any given time. People tend to forget the sacrifices people make for others. This was seen in the past, it is seen now in the present, and this cycle will continue to go on in the future. The sad part is that the old lady raised the young man and now that the lady comes around, the young man and the wife send her away as if she was a nobody. This can be connected to the story of Adam and Eve. Adam and Eve were punished for doing something they were not supposed to do and were kicked out of Paradise. The bad influence there was the serpent who kept telling Eve to do what she was not supposed to, and God punished them after catching them together doing something they were not supposed to do. This can be related to this story because God punished the man and lady for being cruel to the lady who raised him. The punishment was the swarm of bugs that killed them and the people who were around that went to see what happened. They mentioned, “They sinned gravely against their mother, and if we dare bury them, the same thing might happen to us!” They feared helping the couple because it says that we are not supposed to help those who sin or the same punishment will be put upon us. The message behind this is to never forget about the hands that once fed you, that once held you, and the hand’s that gave you everything you ever had.
In conclusion, “At the Side of the Road” and “The Legend of the Original Sin” both demonstrate that self-reflection is one important thing to remember because this helps determine whether you will blossom with criticism and morals, or be punished for forgetting who you really are. Humberto Ak’abal tells us that writing poetry is what helps him express his emotions and thoughts. He writes for himself, not for the public. It is his stress reliever even though he says that sometimes he spends time revising his work. Humberto Ak’abal mentioned in his reading, “I understand that poetry is the lightning that shatters the night of the poet; it does not last long but it is enough to advance a little on the road” (Ak’abal 4). Sharing his work is helping him advance in life little by little. Humberto almost lost himself and almost gave up, but poetry gave him the life he thought he lost. The Legend of the Original Sin is a story to help show that those who sin will be punished for their actions.
The couple should have not treated the old lady so cruelly. As I mentioned earlier, we shouldn’t forget about who fed us when we were younger, to not forget who took care of us when we needed to be taken care of, and to not forget who gave us everything we needed when we could not provide for ourselves. Both of these stories gave us an image of how it is to follow your own path and the outcomes that come with every decision you make. Self-reflecting is important to do because sometimes we fall off of our own tracks and we need guidance to get back where we want to be. These authors shared a lot of sad emotions in their readings, and this showed that having a positive mentality at all times is hard to have but not impossible to maintain. To conclude, our thoughts are sometimes more than just a thought. It is a journey that never ends until you decide to end it.
At The Side of the Road, Ak’abal Humberto, Guatemala 1996
The Pipil people of Izalco. (n.d.). The Legend of the Original Sin .
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