Julia Alvarez’s poem “How I Learned To Sweep” contrasts the simple things of life with tragedy. The author uses imagery, irony, and parallelism to make the comparisons. The poem opens with a young girl cleaning the floor. Later, she compares sweeping with the work soldiers perform during war. This is the reason why the poem got its title.
“How I Learned to sweep” uses a rhyme scheme that is similar to the English language. The words swept, able, and table refer to the elements of nature. The poem’s rhythmic and melodic rhythm is enhanced by the use of the AABB rhyme system. The poem’s language reflects the book’s setting as well as its social context.