What Type of Poem Is ‘Fences’ by Pat Mora? Exploring the Poetry Style

"Fences" by Pat Mora is a remarkable poem that delves into the fragmented nature of human relationships and the emotional barriers we construct. Unlike traditional poetry that adheres to a distinct rhyme scheme, Mora employs the form of free verse to convey a sense of artistic freedom and authenticity. Through her use of vivid imagery, rich language, and thought-provoking symbolism, Mora invites readers to reflect on the limitations we impose on ourselves and the potential for human liberation through breaking down these emotional fences.

What Is the Tone of the Poem Fences?

However, as the poem progresses, Moras tone becomes more solemn and reflective. She begins to focus on the fences that separate people and create barriers. The repetition of the word “fences” throughout the poem serves to emphasize the division and inequality that exist in society.

In terms of poetic style, Moras poem utilizes vivid imagery and repetition to create a powerful and impactful message.

The poem also plays with the contrast between positive and negative imagery. Mora starts with a positive image of laughter, but then juxtaposes it with the negative symbol of fences. This contrast adds depth and complexity to the poem, allowing the reader to fully grapple with the idea of barriers and their consequences.

Pat Mora is renowned for her versatility as a poet, author, and activist. Born in 1942, she’s greatly contributed to contemporary Hispanic literature with her unique style and creativity. Mora’s works cater to a diverse audience, from adults to young and older children. A distinct feature of her books is the seamless blend of Spanish and English text, adding depth and cultural richness to her poetry.

What Type of Poetry Does Pat Mora Write?

Pat Mora is a renowned Mexican American poet who’s made significant contributions to contemporary Hispanic literature. Her poetry style can be best described as a blend of cultural richness and linguistic diversity. Moras works often incorporate both Spanish and English text, showcasing her ability to bridge the gap between different languages and cultures. This bilingual aspect is a prominent feature in many of her books, catering to a wide range of readers, from adults to young and older children.

Moras poems evoke a strong sense of identity and pride in her Mexican heritage. She effortlessly captures the essence of Mexican American culture, celebrating it’s traditions, customs, and vibrant colors. Her poetry often delves into themes of cultural assimilation, family, and the immigrant experience, shedding light on the challenges and triumphs faced by individuals caught between two worlds. Moras writings resonate deeply with readers who can relate to the complex journey of navigating multiple cultures and finding their place in society.

In addition to her focus on cultural diversity, Moras poetry also explores universal human experiences such as love, loss, and self-discovery. She’s a keen eye for detail and uses vivid imagery to paint pictures with her words. Moras poetic style is characterized by it’s accessibility and emotionally resonant storytelling. Her words bring the reader into intimate spaces, eliciting empathy and understanding.

The Influence of Mora’s Mexican American Heritage on Her Poetry

  • Mora’s unique perspective as a Mexican American is evident in her poetry.
  • Her Mexican heritage infuses her work with vibrant imagery and rich cultural references.
  • Mora often explores the themes of identity, heritage, and belonging in her poetry.
  • Her poems beautifully capture the complexities of navigating between two different cultures.
  • Through her writing, Mora celebrates the beauty and resilience of the Mexican American community.
  • Her poetry reflects the impact of her cultural background on her artistic voice.
  • Mora’s poems address the challenges and triumphs of being Mexican American in modern society.
  • Her exploration of Mexican traditions and customs adds depth and authenticity to her poetry.
  • Mora’s Mexican American heritage serves as a source of inspiration and empowerment for her work.
  • Overall, her poetry is a testament to the enduring influence of her roots on her artistic expression.

Source: Pat Mora – Students | Britannica Kids | Homework Help

In August Wilson’s play, fences serve as a powerful symbol with distinct meanings for each character. For Rose, the fence embodies her love and yearning for a sense of security. However, Troy and Cory view the fence as burdensome, perceiving it as a barrier that restricts their freedom. Bono, ever the observer, recognizes how fences can be both physical and emotional. To some, they serve as a means of exclusion and separation, pushing people away instead of bringing them together. Understanding the multifaceted symbolism of fences adds depth and complexity to the narrative, shedding light on the characters’ motivations and struggles.

What Does Fences Symbolize or Mean in the Poem?

In Pat Moras poem “Fences,” the symbolic meaning of fences plays a significant role in understanding the different perspectives of the characters. One of the primary interpretations of fences in the poem is as a representation of Roses love and nurturing nature. To Rose, the fence she desires to build embodies her desire to protect and provide for her family. Her insistence on completing the fence reflects her deep commitment to her loved ones.

For Troy and Cory, the fence represents a burden or a drag in their lives. They view it as an obstacle that hinders their freedom and restricts their aspirations. Their reluctance to work on finishing Roses fence might suggest their resistance towards the idea of confinement and limitations.

Furthermore, Bono, a perceptive observer in the poem, notes that fences, to some people, function as a means to keep others at a distance and create separations. It highlights the idea that fences can both keep people out and push people away, fostering isolation and division among individuals and communities.

The poem prompts us to question the roles fences play in our lives and in society, and to consider the possible consequences of their presence or absence.

While Rose sees fences as a symbol of love and protection, Troy, Cory, and Bono offer alternative perspectives, revealing the potential complexities and contradictions associated with physical and metaphorical barriers.

One of the lessons that “Fences” teaches us is the negative perception of being an outsider. The poem portrays a society where differences are seen as weaknesses, evident in how the children are restricted from accessing the beach due to their social status. This portrayal highlights the oppressive and exclusionary nature of societies that judge individuals based on their differences.

What Has the Poem Fences Taught You About Being an Outsider?

“What Type of Poem Is Fences by Pat Mora? Exploring the Poetry Style”

The poem doesn’t shy away from it’s negative tone towards outsiders, painting a picture of exclusion and discrimination. Through vivid imagery and strong language, Mora effectively communicates the idea that being different is viewed as a weakness in society.

One key aspect of the poem that highlights this negative tone is the depiction of the children being forbidden from accessing the beach. The poem suggests that this exclusion is based on social class and wealth, emphasizing the divide between the privileged and the marginalized. This exclusionary message serves to reinforce the idea that being an outsider is inherently detrimental and limiting.

The repetition of the phrase “Off limits” further underscores the sense of exclusion and the idea that the outsider isn’t welcome. This repetition creates a consistent and powerful tone throughout the poem, effectively conveying a bleak outlook for those who find themselves on the outside. Mora seems to be suggesting that society pushes away those who’re different, leaving them isolated and disadvantaged.

Furthermore, the poem explores the consequences of being an outsider, suggesting that it can lead to a loss of identity and a sense of displacement. The line “youre just visiting” implies that outsiders are merely temporary visitors in a world that doesn’t truly belong to them. This idea further reinforces the notion that being an outsider is a weakness, as it strips individuals of a sense of belonging and rootedness.

Overall, “Fences” by Pat Mora presents a strong and negative portrayal of being an outsider. It highlights the drawbacks and limitations faced by those who don’t fit into societal norms.


"Fences" by Pat Mora is a captivating example of a free verse poem that showcases the poet's ability to convey powerful emotions and evoke imagery without adhering to traditional rhyme schemes. The absence of a rhyme scheme allows Mora to explore the theme of barriers and boundaries in a way that’s unrestricted, mirroring the subject matter of the poem itself. This poem serves as a reminder of the power of poetry to defy expectations and challenge the status quo, and is a testament to Mora's talent as a poet.

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