Oranges by Gary Soto

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Anonymous:
"Oranges"
Gary Soto (1995)

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The first time I walked
With a girl, I was twelve,
Cold, and weighted down
With two oranges in my jacket.
December. Frost cracking
Beneath my steps, my breath
Before me, then gone,
As I walked toward
Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather.
A dog barked at me, until
She came out pulling
At her gloves, face bright
With rouge. I smiled,
Touched her shoulder, and led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,
Until we were breathing
Before a drugstore. We
Entered, the tiny bell
Bringing a saleslady
Down a narrow aisle of goods.
I turned to the candies
Tiered like bleachers,
And asked what she wanted -
Light in her eyes, a smile
Starting at the corners
Of her mouth. I fingered
A nickel in my pocket,
And when she lifted a chocolate
That cost a dime,
I didn't say anything.
I took the nickel from
My pocket, then an orange,
And set them quietly on
The counter. When I looked up,
The lady's eyes met mine,
And held them, knowing
Very well what it was all
About.

Outside,
A few cars hissing past,
Fog hanging like old
Coats between the trees.
I took my girl's hand
in mine for two blocks,
Then released it to let
Her unwrap the chocolate.
I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands.

I've been reading this poem and have found it very enjoyable to read. However I want to look deeper into the poen line by line. What I have noticed so far is that when the girl is talked about, she is always associated with a brightness and a glow. What do the oranges connote? Do you think the two oranges weighing him down is the weight of his relationship or something? "Beneath my steps, my breath" = he is weightless when he is around her, infatuated perhaps? "I turned to the candies Tiered like bleachers" = perhaps connoting people that might sit on bleachers, kind of like this is a show and people are watching them, a drama? The deeper I go into the poem, the less I seem to understand. Anyone have any interesting acknowledgements of the poem or anything else you've noticed, any metaphors, connotations? What do you feel the oranges represent?
Anonymous:
Did you notice how he starts off saying girl and then after he gets the candy he forces her to hold his hand for a couple of blocks he says my girl.
Anonymous:
the orange is a symbol of great happyness, and when at the begining he says the oranges weigh him down, it shows how nervous he is, also he describes "Her house, the one whose
Porch light burned yellow
Night and day, in any weather."
it shows he must have known her for awhile knowing in anyweather is burns meaning he has been to he house in just about every weather, so theyve known eacthother for awhile

"...led
Her down the street, across
A used car lot and a line
Of newly planted trees,..."= i think here the "newly planted trees" symbolize new life maybe because in the end he feels more confident and changes him

"I peeled my orange
That was so bright against
The gray of December
That, from some distance,
Someone might have thought
I was making a fire in my hands"= here he takes all this to talk about an orange, showing since the orange represents great happyness, this must of been really really great happyness
hope this helps sorry its longish
Anonymous:
I think this is a great poem, but it seems like you're reading too much into it. It's a nice imagistic poem, and though there are contrasts (weight/breath/fog/etc., orange/chocolate) these seem pretty self-explanatory. Just enjoy it. Maybe the weight is because he's never walked with a girl before, he's poor, doesn't know what to do, etc.
The poem is about life at a time when chocolate candy costs 10 cents.

It is also a time when a store owner would accept an orange from a young man, in lieu of payment.

He is young and trying to please this girl.

The oranges represent confidence and power for him, I think. He is poor, yet they helped him buy something for his girl and comforted him on the way home.
Full Member201
Anonymous:
i think you may be going to deep in to the lines of the poem. as in, you don't have to look so deep just to find the meaning. It's about a boy who wants to do everything for his girl, and when he is with her, all his problems seem to vanish.
Anonymous:
But he did not force her! This is a sweet poem about the innocence and pureness of love....how it is suppose to be. It is a very romantic poem.
Anonymous:
Holy Cow! What makes you think he forced her? It's common for people to say, my girl or my man, or my boy or my mom or my dad, and it's only meant to show affection. Haven't you ever heard the song, "My Girl"? That should give you a much better idea of what he's talking about.
Anonymous:
The oranges are his burning love, desire, hence the "fire in my hands",or the porch light that burned yellow.
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