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Borges y yo

In Borges y yo, Jorge Luis Borges (1899-1986) offers the reader a short but intense "self-portrait" which focuses on the duplicity of the self. We are introduced to a mirror-like portrayal of two aspects of the author's personality: the "yo", or Borges in his private sphere, and the "Borges" or "el otro", Borges in his public sphere. At the end of the text the reader is left wondering which of the two — "yo" or "Borges" — is the true author of this revealing portrait.

Cajas de cartón

The narrator of the following fragment of the short story "Cajas de cartón" is Panchito, an 11 year old chicano (Mexican-American) boy whose family is one of many migrant farm workers in the United States. As with most migrant families, Panchito's must travel from one town to another in search of work, thus interrupting the normal schedule of attending school. In this part of the story, the grape-picking season has just ended, and while Panchito's brother Roberto must continue on to work the cotton crop with his father, Panchito goes to school for the first time this year. In this fragment, Panchito recalls his first day of sixth grade, and relates both the joy and uncertainty he experienced in the next months in señor Lema's class.

Platero y yo

Platero y yo is a collection of 63 short descriptive passages by Juan Ramón Jimenez written for children over a period of 10 years: 1906–1916. These "anecdotes" are conversations, so to speak, directed to Platero, a burro, by his owner, an Andalusian man about whom the reader does not know much. The passages are imbued with a poetic reflection of daily life in Moguer, a small town in the province of Huelva, where Juan Ramón was born, and are graced with observations about the simplicity of the inhabitants and the immense beauty of the natural environment. The characteristic tone of this poetic prose is subjective and sentimental, and the reader comes away feeling close to the land and people of this agricultural region of southern Spain.


"Rimas" is the name given to the collection of poems written by Gustavo Adolfo Bécquer during his short life (1836-1870). Originally published in the Spanish press, the poems are sentimenal and intimate in nature. The tone of his work is melancolic and the verses lack the artificial pretense which was typical of the romantic poetry written during the years before Bécquer began to write. The central themes of the "Rimas" are the adventure of love, the tragedy of human life and the search for artistic perfection.

Versos sencillos

José Marti's "Versos sencillos" were first published in 1891. They were written in the Catskills Mountains of New York State, where Martí was sent by his doctors for a much needed rest from his political activities. The 1889-1890 International Monetary Conference in Washington D.C. had raised the question of the influence of the imperialist intentions of Washington over the Latin Anmerican countries, a question which profoundly disturbed Martí and his desire to see a free Cuba, which at that time was still under Spanish rule. The "Versos sencillos" is a collection of personal poems, one which was borne from the pain and anguish which Martí felt at that moment. The verses are deceptively simple yet they embody universal qualities; they examine the theoretical and emotive nature of poetry as well as the unique personal experience: I know / I have seen / I hear / I am from / I am.