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Problems with hurricanes by Victor Hernandez Cruz – Summary

Problems with hurricanes summary
Image © haikudeck

     “Problems with Hurricanes” is an interesting poem by Victor Hernandez Cruz.  It has an extremely humorous tone. The poet juxtaposes the usual notion of ordinary things like Mango, avocados, green plantains and banana with their possible strange behaviors in turbulent conditions like a hurricane.  Things may behave strangely in certain situations.  The poet shows us the fatal and killer potential of things usually seen as harmless, sweet and innocent.  The Campesino (farmer) is the speaker in the poem. The choice of the speaker is significant.  Being a farmer, a person of the soil, he knows the real impulse of nature. The tone is highly conversational, humorous and friendly and the poem thus acquires some features of a dramatic monologue. 

At first, the Campesino believes that certain kind of deaths are honorable and others are not.  Death by water and by wind are considered honorable.  But if a flying mango comes and smashes the head during a hurricane and kills a person, it would be shameful death.  A death from a plantain shot by a hurricane is also disgraceful.  This is because these things are small and usually considered harmless and innocent. The focal argument of the poem is that sweet eatables could also be fatal at times.

The poet employs implicit exaggeration and brings up the the alien underside of the reality of things like fruits in high speed.  The Campesino says that the society lives in the fear of the fatal winds and terrorising sounds of hurricanes.  But these small things are also to be feared.  They can be killer fruits. So he tells not to worry about the noise, wind and water but of mangoes, avocados and plantains. One should not take the outward appearances for granted for they may be deceptive. 

In his poems we can find a keen awareness of things familiar from an entirely different angle, which is definitely a mark of his cultural hybridity.  Living in a land where  killer hurricanes blow for three months every year, Cruz is able to appropriate the harsh reality in a most humorous manner.  

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