You've Gone Too Far

Soto, Gary

Primary Category: Literature / Poetry

Genre: Poem

Annotated by:
Aull, Felice
  • Date of entry: Aug-17-1998
  • Last revised: Dec-07-2006


Chicano poet Gary Soto explores his own uncertain status in relation to his family, and to the larger society. Detailing the "evolution" of his siblings and cousins, who "were no longer Mexican rednecks," but "held down jobs" and "stopped jamming parking meters for free time," the poet describes how his family nevertheless feels uncomfortable about him: "My family feared that I had evolved too far."

Drunken Christmas horseplay with his brothers reveals their distaste and distrust of his intellectualism and sophisticated clothes. "They tore my book in half, / and stripped me of my Italian belt." Only when they have succeeded in making him sick-drunk do they accept him (at least temporarily) back into the family fold.


Much of Soto's writing concerns the marginality of being Mexican American and the tentative status of having moved in nontraditional ways to leave the barrio behind. While Soto never rejects his heritage he is acutely aware of and still trying to find his way through the diverse and simultaneous racial, economic, and intellectual spaces that he occupies.

This poem illustrates well the difficulties that can arise when one member of the family elects to live his life differently from the rest, yet wants to maintain a relationship with its members. This situation has resonance for the children of immigrants, for children who are more educated than their parents, or for anyone who has chosen a life unfamiliar to family or friends.

Primary Source

Junior College



Place Published

San Francisco