Narrative of the Captivity of Yazmin Juarez


On the first of March 2018, I fled Guatemala with mi hija, Mariee. I was twenty-years old when the domestic violence and poverty had become unbearable in my house. I understood that I needed to protect mi hija, and I knew a friend that would help me cross the border to America.


I woke up early in the morning to converge with my caravan. We traveled through the Rio Grande in a raft with a dozen others. The river was cold and the raft was crowded. Everybody had a solemn expression, holding their loved one’s tight. I held mi hija closer. The cross was difficult.


We were detained by la migra four days after our travel, and transported to the South Texas Family Residential Center. They arranged mi hija and I in a room with five other mothers and their children. The mothers were exhausted and the children were indisposed. One boy was lethargic with a constant cough, and he was denied medical treatment by la migra.


On the eleventh of March, mi hija was diagnosed with bronchitis. I begged la migra to administer her medicine, and they gave me Tylenol and honey. The next morning, mi hija had a fever. Her condition continued to deteriorate in the following four days. I became hysterical; I did not want to lose mi hija.


La migra transferred us to New Jersey on the twenty-fifth of March. Mi hija was committed to the emergency room, where she received medical attention from los gringos; but, it was too late.


Mi hija departed to heaven on May 10, 2018. She was nineteen months old, five months from her second birthday. She died from bronchiectasis, pneumonitis and a collapsed lung. Eight weeks after her first symptoms, she endured her miserable condition – unable to breath – without medical assistance. Three days before Mother’s Day, I departed from the hospital with a handprint of mi hija and sorrow in my heart. I questioned the inhumanness of los gringos, and an anger broke my heart. I traveled to America to protect mi hija from the violence in Guatemala; but los gringos murdered mi hija.


For my Creative Writing Project, I used the Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson to explore the image of the mother that has lost their child. The image of the mother emerges in numerous accounts – Beloved by Toni Morrison. I wanted to examine the image of the mother in other race, class and time periods. I decided to investigate a contemporary image of the mother, and concluded to the migrant mothers of detained children. However, I did not want to manufacture a mother, therefore, I constructed a captivity narrative based on the true story of Yazmin Juarez, a migrant mother escaping from the domestic violence in her Guatemalan home with her one year old daughter, who dies from the neglect of the ICE. The form and diction is inspired by Mary Rowlandson’s captivity narrative, using the “removes” and dates. Moreover, I incorporate the Spanish words, mi hija, la migra, and los gringos to illustrate her and her daughter and the others. After the third remove, the mother refers to la migra as los gringos after her daughter’s conditions deteriorate as a criticism to demonstrate that, her daughter died not because of the immigration officers; but because of the American people who watched complacently. Through creating my contemporary rendition of the Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, I have demonstrated the power of the image of the mother and critiqued the present political environment of America.

Harp Of My Country

The Harp of India by Henry Derozio illustrates the cultural deprivation of the harp because of European colonization. The Irish harp represented the epitome of Gaelic aristocratic culture. However, the tradition was lost after the colonization of Ireland. In The Harp of India, Derozio uses the harp to represent similar absence of culture in India because of British colonialism.

“Why hang’st thou lonely on yon withered bough?” (1)

The first line demonstrates the deprivation of the harp tradition. The imagery of the “withered bough” emphasizes the absence of the tradition. Moreover, The narrator personifies the harp through referencing it with a question.

“Why doth the breeze sigh over thee in vain?

Silence hath bound thee with her fatal chain;” (4-5)

In the fourth line, the narrator personifies the breeze, as it “sighs” because of the silence of the harp, representing the Indian audience. In the fifth line, the narrator personifies silence with “her fatal chains,” representing the British colonialism in India.

“Neglected, mute, and desolate art thou,

Like ruined monument on desert plain:” (6-7)

The simile of the harp to a “ruined monument on desert plain,” illustrates the severity of the loss of the harp tradition, representing the loss of Indian culture from British colonialism.

“Those hands are cold — but if thy notes divine

May be by mortal wakened once again,

Harp of my country, let me strike the strain! (12-14)

The narrator illustrates the possibility of the resurrection of the harp, “wakened once again,” and concludes with the narrators aspiration to “strike the strain,” and does through the creation of the poem. The narrator uses the poem to resurrect the “harp of my country.”

-Hongxi Su

The Absoluteness of Death

In The Abbey in the Oakwood by Caspar David Friedrich illustrates a decrepit abbey. An abbey is a monastery that resides an independent community. However, despite its deteriorating condition, it is not abandoned as there are silhouettes shouldering a coffin, entering through the arch of the abbey. A cross representing a grave rests outside the abbey. Furthermore, the oakwood’s longevity is symbolic of life. However, in the illustration, the oakwoods are dead. Everything below the abbey’s window is shrouded in darkness. The illustration invokes death through contrasting the absence of light and life in normally life-affirming things – the abbey and the oakwood. The theme of death in Romanticism is regular because it is a subjective experience that every living being encounters. It is an absolute that is more resolute than life.

In We Are Seven, the rhyme scheme is abab, illustrating the simplicity of the “simple child” (1) conversing.

“Seven boys and girls are we;
“Two of us in the church-yard lie,
“Beneath the church-yard tree” (30-32).

We Are Seven demonstrates the theme of death, as the “little Maid’s” sister and brother are dead, and are buried underneath a tree in the church-yard. The absolute of death is unescapable, even in children, and despite the innocence of the “little Maiden” represented through her simplicity, she is aware of the subjective experience of death. Through reading We Are Seven by William Wordsworth, he illustrates the Romantic theme of death through the innocent child in order to demonstrate the absoluteness of death regardless of age, gender, race, class, etc.

Modern Marine

Iron Maiden’s rendition of Samuel Taylor Coleridge’s “The Rime of the Ancient Mariner” is like Romantic poetry because of the resemblance of their history backgrounds and literary language. The establishment of Romanticism was to illustrate the subjective, the individual, and the emotional in contrast to the objective, the collective, and the rational that was prominent during the 18th century. In correspondence, heavy metal emerged as a genre of rock music during the 20th century in the United Kingdom, in response to the economic decline after World War II. The characteristics of heavy metal is its illustration of raw emotions – the subjective individual against the immediacy. The origins of Romanticism and heavy metal are comparable, as they endeavor to accentuate the importance of the subjective. Furthermore, Iron Maiden’s interpretation uses poetic language – imagery and figurative language – similar to Coleridge’s, however, with a modern freshness. Albeit, these lines are from Coleridge’s poem, Iron Maiden’s rendition provides these imageries with the raw emotions of heavy metal.

“As idle as a painted ship upon a painted ocean”

The expression of this line by the Iron Maiden’s illustrate the despair of the ship’s crew through the increased tempo. Moreover, the repetition before and after this line represents the stagnancy and madness experienced by the crew.

“One after one by the star dogged moon too quick for groan or sigh”

The line is expressed in a silent and sinister tone, accompanied with the decrease in tempo in order to illustrate the horror of the crew’s death.

Moreover, the Iron Maiden’s modern interpretation of Coleridge’s poem uses figurative language to accentuate the horrifying emotions.

“The albatross falls from his neck. Sinks down like lead into the sea”

The simile between the falling of the albatross and lead illustrates the release of the albatross’ vengeance, that will descend into the sea and disappear forever, like lead, in order to commence the Mariner’s penance.

The significance of the historical background and literary language of Iron Maiden’s rendition, demonstrates its similarities to Romanticism.

Equiano, The Epic Hero

In Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, he illustrates the pandemonium that occured in the blackness of a night on August 1759 through his reference of the Iliad.

Here I could have exclaimed with Ajax,

‘Oh Jove! O father! if it be thy will

That we much perish, we thy will obey,

But let us perish by the light of day.'”

In the Iliad, Ajax is second to Achilles as an Achaean warrior. In Book 15, Ajax defends an Achaean ship from the Trojans, and he declares the exclamation in order to motivate the strength and spirit of his Achaean soldiers. Jove is the Roman name for Zeus, ruler of the Greek gods – hence “father.” After hearing Ajax’s prayers, the gods – Athena – remove the clouded air,” enabling Ajax and his soldiers to fend off the Trojans. Equiano’s reference to the Iliad during this tumultuous moment provides the audience with an imagery of the epic hero, Equiano. His reference to the Iliad illustrates his attempt to connect and resemble a heroic Greek warrior during this epic conflict.

“I no longer looked upon them as spirits, but as men superior to us; and therefore I had the stronger desire to resemble them; to imbibe their spirits, and imitate their manners.”

Equiano’s divulgence illustrates the double consciousness caused by colonialism. Equiano’s reference to the Iliad is an incident of his double consciousness illuminating the consequences of colonialism. Initially observed as Equiano’s attempt to converse with his white audience through referencing the Greek epic, becomes a man suffering from the double consciousness of colonialism. He recognizes them as his “superior,” and his “desire to resemble them” motivated him to reference Ajax’s deliverance in order to illustrate his literary knowledge as an African individual to his “superiors” and to resemble his “superior” by posing as a Greek hero. Through reading this passage in Olaudah Equiano’s The Interesting Narrative of the Life of Olaudah Equiano, we can analyze the consequences of colonialism – the double consciousness – on the colonized individual.


-Hongxi Su


Patch-Work Pope

Analyzing the description of Opera in The Dunciad provides a valuable perspective, that is constructive to the interpretation of Alexander Pope’s bullies.

When lo! a Harlot form soft sliding by,

With mincing step, small voice, and languid eye;

Foreign her air, her robe’s discordant pride

In patch-work flutt’ring, and her head aside:

Opera is introduced as a “Harlot form soft sliding by.” A Harlot refers to a prostitute. She is described as a form, a silhouette, illustrating her enigmatic nature. Furthermore, the alliteration of ‘s’ present in “soft sliding” suggests danger because of its connotations to hissing. The “mincing step, small voice, and languid eye” illustrates an endeavor to not draw attention.” However, the passage commences with ” lo!” –  look! Furthermore, her robe is illustrated as a “patch-work” with clashing “pride,” referring to the two mediums of Art – singing and acting – that were used in operas.

Pope visual satire

This provocative image by Alexander Pope’s bullies illustrates Tiny Pope as a “patch-work” animal of a man, with his physical disabilities in height and penile length, as illustrated by Cibber’s hand gesture. Furthermore, he is ridiculed for his absence of standards for women, – a prostitute with venereal disease – dehumanizing him to an animal. Moreover, he is saved by Cibber, a target of Pope’s contempt. The prostitute that Tiny Pope is sprawled over is a reference to the “Harlot” with the “languid eye,” Opera, a satirical creature birthed from Pope’s commentary. Therefore, Tiny Pope is ravishing the object of his satire, whilst being saved by the target of his satire, and Warwick observes as the audience. This suggestive image not only bullies Alexander Pope’s physical disability, it critiques The Dunciad as a sexual debauchery between Pope and his beloved satire, that is observed by Warwick. Through interpreting the provocative image by Alexander Pope’s bullies with the reading of The Dunciad, can we recognize the allusions used to bully Pope, and question the oppressive mentality of his bullies.

-Hongxi Su

Repetition in Language

In Part 1, “A Voyage to Lilliput” from Gulliver Swift’s travels, he records the words that his captors cry multiple instances, “cried out in a shrill but distinct voice: Hekinah degul,” “he cried out three times, Langro dehul san,” etc. After every instance, he accounts the repetition of the words by his captors. Evidently, Swift’s use of language repetition is a satirization on captivity narratives similar to Rowlandson. In a true captivity narrative, the narrator generally does not record the detailed wording of their captors because it is difficult to remember every particular conversation. Captivity narratives are more personal, delving into the individual’s emotions in comparison to a fictional piece, and Swift’s travels read as fictional. It is indicative in Swift’s selection of language and format, that his tale’s intend to satirize the popular captivity narrative. Through exaggerating the language of his captives with repetition, he causes the language to have a magical perception, similar to magic words, “bippity, bopping, boo.” A completely fictions word that is widely recognized as nonsensical, but used in the connotation of repetition and magic.

-Hongxi Su

The Complicated Victim

The exchange between Mary Rowlandson and her native Algonquian captors complicates the discourse of discrimination against indigenous people. A previous student’s blog post, “A City Upon Intolerance and Genocide,” illustrates the savage genocide experienced by the natives. However, in Rowlandson’s narrative, A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs. Mary Rowlandson, she experiences abhorrent brutality from the indigenous people. Who is the true victim? Unfortunately, the devastating brutality illustrated from both the colonists and the natives is an unceasing cycle of suffering and violence. Furthermore, this tragic cycle is represented in Dryden and Winthrop. Dryden and his unsanctioned love illustrates the discrimination against the colonized people, whilst Winthrop justifies their intolerance through religious superiority. Mary Rowlandon’s narrative provides insight to the cruelty experienced by the colonized. I do not believe that the violence can be condemned to either the colonists or natives, rather both inflicted and experienced the savagery. Unfortunately, the biggest tragedy is the death of innocent people from both sides.

– Hongxi Su