“It is only at the first encounter that a literary (face) makes its full impression on us” (Arthur Schopenhauer).
The poem “Oranges” written by Gary Soto is a verse for lovers. The sweet pureness and innocence of love is illustrated in its every line. How stunning it is to reminisce the past about the first love and the feelings one used to have. Once, you had such a strong feeling that even the world seemed to stop for a while. Fantasy of illusions walked through your dreams nearly coming to your bright smile eyes. Rainbow colors embraced your heart, hoping that someday all the pieces of dreams would be transformed into the mirror of reality. Until, the fireworks of romance struck you with Cupid’s bow, and everything begins with one “hello”…Indeed, I fell in love once more upon reading Gary Soto’s “Oranges”. The poem is about the boy who wants to do everything for his girl, and when he is with her, all his problems seem to vanish.
“Oranges” is a great poem, which conveys self-explanatory meaning. You do not have to read it many times to understand its sense, because it can appeal your senses and emotions from the first time. The author used a simple language that is able to convey the exact meaning he wanted the readers to infer. It was very interesting for me to interpret the poem. What an enjoyable literary piece that can make an individual fascinated with the magical world of romantic love. Though it is simply written, the affluent messages to the readers are supported by the rich experience of the author.
The poem tells about young love and the first tender feeling. Soto makes the reader remember his own first love and how it feels to be in love. The oranges are used in the poem as an extended metaphor tie with money, love and passion that vividly present the burning fire of the youth. They also represent the confidence of the lad; oranges are accepted by the store owner to a young man instead of payment. When he speaks on the subject of the "porch light burning day and night," it is a figurative account of his blazing obsession for his beloved. The phrases "used car lot" and the "newly planted trees" are metaphors depicting realism and what form of life the main character resides in. It should be noted that there is alliteration of “w” at the beginning of the poem that emphasizes the freezing December breeze. The "b" is also alliterated to demonstrate the coldness of the night. Furthermore, the orange is an icon of vast gladness, and when at the beginning he says that the oranges weigh him down, it gives an idea about his anxiousness
To be true with the beloved, one should prove that he is the perfect half of her heart to complete the journey toward romantic love. Actually, this is what Soto showed in his poem, and this is what I felt upon reading it. I can even imagine that I am the woman from the verse and that the young man is a charming prince searching for me. Through his verse, Soto is able to communicate his passion and commitment to fall all over in love again. It is a feeling hard to explain for someone who has never fallen in love yet. The poem can easily remind one of such crazy things he did just for the sake of the one he loved.
In my opinion, when Soto was writing this poem, he was very much engrossed with his feelings toward his childhood love. In view of the fact, I believe that most writers produce their masterpieces basing on their own life experience. Since Soto makes use of a very powerful theme of love in his writing, almost everybody can relate themselves to it. Who in this world cannot give a definition of love? Everyone has a unique conception and understanding of this feeling. Thus, people may have different ways of interpreting the poem because all have different experiences. However, love will be still the only common thing for everyone.
Question to the class: Why do you think the author makes use of “oranges” as a symbol in the poem? What do the “oranges” actually mean?
The author of “Oranges” directly compares the message of the verse to the deeper meaning of the oranges. They present an extended metaphor of love, passion and fire. Their color is produced by mixing red and yellow, which indicate vigor, zest, fervor and inspiration. In connection with it, Soto relates his romantic love in the poem with oranges to make emotions more appealing and convincing to the readers. It is a literary technique used by poets in order to make the sense deeper. In addition, it suggests a flexible approach providing an atmosphere of camaraderie, excitement and casualness. These ideas are presented concretely in the poem. The young man is really obsessed with the woman he truly loves and eagers to be with her. No wonder the author makes a good choice of linking the theme of the poem with a solid object to let the readers grasp its meaning visually. As there is a saying connected with the principle of writing, “Do not just tell it. Show it. Let the imaginations of the readers work”. Sexually talking, orange implies fervor, an attachment to the red color, which indicates erotica. If red is the color of passion, then orange is recognized as the 'igniter' of passion.