Study Guide

Immigrant Blues Speaker

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We'll just come out and say it: we're pretty sure our speaker is the poet, Li-Young Lee. Why do we think that? Well, because he pretty much came out and said it. But even if we didn't know anything about our poet, we could still take a stab at figuring out our speaker.

This guy is both a father and a son, who probably immigrated to his current country when he was a child. His family connections – his son, his father, and the woman he loves – are super important to him. Maybe that's because he got some advice on the immigrant experience from his father, and now he's passing that advice on to his own kid.

Our guy's also a pretty philosophical or meditative man. He's a thinker, that much is sure, because he wonders about concepts like body and soul. He makes connections between experiences and has a sense of history – both his own, and the world's. And, of course, he thinks a lot about the names we use for those experiences. He wants us to understand just what the immigrant experience is, but he has trouble hitting the nail on the head. But he knows – if at first you don't succeed, try, try again.

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