I Was My Own Route: Summary& Analysis of the Poem

Summary of the Poem “I Was My Own Route” by Julia de Burgos Class 12 English 

I Was My Own Route: Summary& Analysis of the Poem

Main Summary  

I Was My Own Route is the poem in which the speaker Julia de Burgos, a radical feminist, challenges the masculine concept of defining a female’s existence and journey via traditional paths in the poem. She links male mentality to gender inequality and male prejudices towards women.

Women’s own freedom and liberation are portrayed in this poem. She also rejects the masculine ideology of deciding a woman’s life and journey along traditional paths as a result of this. She connects masculine thinking to gender inequity and men’s prejudices against women.

She’s looking for a new path to take on her own journey, one that she can choose. She supports women’s rights and freedom. This poem demonstrates that a man and a woman are equally important. As a result, her life should not be influenced by the ideas of others, as the law guarantees females the same fundamental rights as men.

Above all, the poem teaches us the moral that men and women are both members of the same society, and they both require freedom, liberty, independence, and other aspects of life, and they should be permitted to pursue their own paths rather than those dictated by patriarchal society. 

About the Author

Julia de Burgos Julia de Burgos (1914-1953) was born in Carolina, Puerto Rico, and came to New York, where she worked as a journalist, and then to Cuba, where she continued her education at the University of Havana. De Burgos, a freedom fighter, returned to New York after two years in Cuba to work as the art and cultural editor for the progressive journal Pueblos Hispanos.

De Burgos’ poems deal with issues of women’s liberation and social justice, and they predate the Nuyorican poetry movement. In her poem “I was my Own Route, ” de Burgos, a predecessor to contemporary Latina/o writers, portrays how women are shackled by patriarchal ideals from the past. As a result, de Burgos encourages women to separate themselves from the past to find their identity within. 

Poem Analysis

Stanza 1  

I wanted to be like men wanted me to be: 

an attempt at life; a game of hide and seek with my being. 

But I was made of nows, and my feet level on the promissory earth would not accept walking backwards and went forward, forward, mocking the ashes to reach the kiss of new paths.  

In the first stanza, The speaker emphasizes the differences between what was expected of her and who she was. She rejects patriarchal thinking and wishes to build her own path rather than participate in the customary game of hide and seek.

She discusses her own personal independence as well as women’s empowerment through this. She’s looking for new ways to manage her journey, rather than following the road that has been established or set by masculine members of society.

She mocks these paths and chooses a new road that she prefers. As expressed by Julia de Burgos, this poem makes an agenda of gender discrimination as a response to the social inequalities that existed at the time. 

Stanza 2  

At each advancing step on my route forward my back was ripped by the desperate flapping wings of the old guard.  The speaker encounters several male-made social conventions as hurdles in her freshly forwarded path in the second stanza, but she overcomes all limits and old determined feet.

She describes how, with her shattered heart and old blogs, she was thrown back to view the old traditional way. 

Stanza 3  

But the branch was unpinned forever, and at each new whiplash my look separated more and more and more from the distant familiar horizons; and my face took the expansion that came from within, the defined expression that hinted at a feeling of intimate liberation; a feeling that surged from the balance between my life and the truth of the kiss of the new paths.  

The speaker suffers a lot in the third stanza with a sense of liberation to balance her own life to continue along the new and true path of life. She wishes to travel far into the horizons and experience all of the liberations that the male members of society have already experienced. As a result, she kisses multiple different pathways to experience various levels of freedom and joy in life. 

Stanza 4  

Already my course now set in the present, I felt myself a blossom of all the soils of the earth, of the soils without history, of the soils without a future, of the soil always soil without edges of all the men and all the epochs.  

The persona finds herself in an already predetermined situation in the fourth stanza, where there is no history, future, edges, or anything else besides the world and the limitations of men and females under the shadows of males.

Patriarchy has erected various barriers for women, confining them to the four walls of their homes. Her current suffering is surrounded by several difficulties and patriarchal society’s norms. It depicts a world in which women appear to have no hope. 

Stanza 5  

And I was all in me as was life in me…  With the phrase “And I was all in me as was life in me…” in the fifth stanza, the speaker seeks to convey the feeling of strength that comes with choosing one’s own path. 

It was a great opportunity for the speaker to meet and connect with her actual selves. Her life is now completely comprehended and self-sufficient. Stanza 6  I wanted to be like men wanted me to be: an attempt at life; a game of hiding and seek with my being. But I was made of nows; when the heralds announced me at the regal parade of the old guard, the desire to follow men warped in me and the homage was left waiting for me.  

The speaker reveals to her what she was and what the male members of the community desired her to be in the sixth stanza. Then she goes on to state that she was everything in herself because she tries so hard to be who she wants to be. 

Returning to the first stanza, the speaker reveals her own attempt to be different from what patriarchal society desired. She is quite depressed about the dark future ahead of her, and she is determined to overcome the difficult conditions in her life.