This summer I am hoping to put together lessons for “A Roosevelt” and “La United Fruit Co.” as pre-viewing activities for the film “Diarios de motocicleta.” I think these two poems illustrate sentiments or ideas that a young Ernesto “Che” Guevara may have been exposed to, thus giving further insight into the transformation that Guevara went through during the course of his journey across South America. I’m using my blog as a thinking space; I’m hoping the lessons will come together as I write.
It is not difficult to find resources for these poems, as “A Roosevelt” is currently on the AP Spanish Literature reading list, and “La United Fruit Co.” was formerly on the list.
This great illustration is just one of fourteen images of the poem that I found at https://marekbennett.com/2013/12/30/dario-1904-aroosevelt-01/.
To me, the toughest thing about “A Roosevelt” is the many references to people and things that the students may not know. I taught this poem a number of years ago, and put together a “cheat-sheet” in English for the references that I did not believe the students would recognize. In thinking of teaching the poem again, I decided to make a glossed text with the definitions at the bottom of each page in hopes that the students will be more likely to use them. Here is my version of the poem:
I used the following activity the first time that I taught the poem, and plan to use it again. In this activity, students determine whether certain words refer to the United States or to Latin America. Then they use the list to determine how Rubén Darío is portraying each one.
An activity that I have not yet tried is one that I saw on a fabulous blog by Rebecca M. Bender, PhD. In her blog entry about Picasso, she gave students an image of “Guernica” and had them write phrases from a poem near parts of the painting which, in their opinion, showed similarities and differences between the two. The painting I have chosen to use with “A Roosevelt” is Frida Kahlo’s “Autorretrato en la frontera entre Estados Unidos y México.”
Finally, I would like to add comprehension questions about the poem to help the students analyze it more closely. There are a few resources that I plan to incorporate for compiling the questions:
One of my go-to resources for teaching literary works is the text “Momentos cumbres de las literaturas hispanicas“ published by Pearson. There are pre- and post-reading exercises for each work.
This next resource is a teaching guide. One thing that I find particularly interesting in this document is a list of songs that could tie to the poem, like “Si el norte fuera el sur” by Ricardo Arjona. This would be another great activity for working with the poem.
Other sources that I have found to accompany to poem are PDF documents with questions, found at :
Here are some more questions from which to choose: http://l.exam-10.com/other/21142/index.html
One last idea is to tie the poem to political cartoons of the time, which is a favorite activity of mine. Here are a couple of cartoons that could work for the poem:
In my next blog post I’ll share activities and resources for “La United Fruit Co.” by Pablo Neruda.