Literarary Devices in “Everyday We Get More Illegal”

Updated April 25, 2022

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Literarary Devices in “Everyday We Get More Illegal” essay

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In “Everyday We Get More Illegal”, Juan Felipe Herrera uses an abundance of imagery, pathos, and verisimilitude in order to bring light to the highly debated topic of illegal immigration and allow the reader to put themselves in the shoes of these immigrants. The use of these specific devices truly makes the reader get a feel for Herrera’s side of the issue on immigration. I believe that he is trying to express that even though these people are illegal, they are still humans and are simply doing what they are doing in order to better their lives as well as their families. He explains what these people go through in order to live a better life and some of the horrible consequences that they face. Herrera does not use any punctuation in the poem and a possible reason for this could be that immigration is not an easy topic to figure out and by not using punctuation throughout the entire poem, we most pay close attention to detail in order to understand the full meaning.

Imagery in a poem allows the reader to visualize the scenario and really bring feeling to the situation. In this poem, Herrera writes, “detention cells husband / with the son / the wife & / the daughter who / married a citizen / they stay behind broken slashed” (Herrera 10-15). It seems that Herrera is trying to make the reader picture a harsh scenario in order to create pathos. We can see through the imagery a family that has been separated and the horrible conditions that being separated brings about such as family members being placed in detention cells. Herrera tries to place an image in the reader’s mind about feeling bad for the illegal immigrants and what they have to go through rather than bashing them for tying to enter our own country. This is where imagery and pathos seem to coincide in order to create a greater effect for the reader and persuade them towards a certain side of the issue.

Verisimilitude is a key element used in poetry in order to make things feel real for the reader. Herrera uses this element in a clever way which also brings pathos to the reader just as he used the imagery. Towards the end of the poem, Herrera writes, “yesterday homeless & /w/o papers  Alberto / left for Denver a Greyhound bus he said / where they don’t check you” (Herrera 33-36). I believe Herrera used odd spacing and formatting for the same reason that he left out punctuation in the poem; to portray the idea that this issue of illegal immigration is not a clear and concrete topic. However, we see this verisimilitude used by the use of real names and locations. This gives the reader something to think about even more since a real scenario is brought into the poem. Allowing the reader to think of an actual human being going through these hardships creates much more emotion, or pathos, when reading the poem.

Overall, Juan Felipe Herrera uses literary devices in an intelligent manner throughout the poem, specifically imagery, pathos, and verisimilitude. He combines the use of imagery with pathos as well as verisimilitude with pathos in order to create a greater effect on the reader. We also see the use of odd formatting and spacing in the layout of the poem along with no punctuation at all. It seems that all of these elements combine to glorify Herrera’s side of the issue on illegal immigration. He wants the reader to understand that illegal immigrants face a great deal of hardship and that even though there are laws against it, there are still many blank or unclear areas on the topic. The use of these literary devices only add to Herrera’s view on illegal immigration and his goal to bring light on the issue to the reader.

Literarary Devices in “Everyday We Get More Illegal” essay

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Literarary Devices in “Everyday We Get More Illegal”. (2022, Apr 25). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/literarary-devices-in-everyday-we-get-more-illegal/


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