Motifs in The Latin Deli

This Storyboard That activity is part of the lesson plans for The Latin Deli An Ars Poetica


"The Latin Deli: An Ars Poetica" - Motifs

Example



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Activity Overview


Themes, symbols, and motifs come alive when you use a storyboard. In this activity, students will identify themes and symbols from the poem, and support their choices with details from the text. While “The Latin Deli” is not a long poem, it has several interesting themes to explore and powerful motifs to describe.


Themes and Motifs to Examine and Explore

Hispanic Foods

In the course of the poem, Ortiz Cofer refers to many items of Latino origin including specialty foods, candies, and items that the store owner keeps. Each stanza includes examples like Bustelo Coffee, Jamón y Queso, Merengues, Plantanos, and dried cod fish. Each of these items is meant to represent a part of the culture that has remained visible, even though the various customer live in America.


Exile/Nostalgia

All of the patrons at the deli retain a strong connection to their countries of origin, even though they may never return. They come to the deli to hear their native language, and to be with others who have come to the United States as immigrants or children of immigrants. The woman behind the counter of the deli is called the “Patroness of Exiles” (evoking the Statue of Liberty, sometimes called “Mother of Exiles”) and she provides a connection for customers to their past by “selling canned memories”, and trading with the “closed ports” of the places in their hearts. The poem focuses on the bittersweet feelings that accompany nostalgia.



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Template and Class Instructions

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Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies and explains one motif from the text.


  1. Type in the motif in the title box.
  2. Illustrate an example of the motif.
  3. In the description box, describe the importance of the motif.

Symbol Square Template

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