“Looking South” Sandra M. Castillo

Momma doesn’t agree.
She dreams of American shopping carts
and bringing Abuela Isabel to America.
But Abuela Isabel reads Echeverria
and knows that “to emigrate is to die.”

The mother dreams of moving to America to have a new life–dreaming of American shopping carts–an implication of domesticity. It is ironic that Castillo specifically mentions “American shopping carts,” because it seems a bit too idealistic to think that shopping carts in America are any more special or important than shopping carts from anywhere else. This shows the mother’s idealization of America and how much she wants to immigrate there–but we see this contrasted with the grandmother’s ideas about America–that to leave her homeland for it would be “to die.” The strength of the phrase implies that the grandmother understands the hardships of immigration and living away from home and what it might mean–whereas the mother is thinking of it more as a “dream.”

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