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Eleven by Sandra Cisneros

Birthdays can be pretty stressful occasions. Since they happen only one time a year, there’s a lot of pressure to make them the best day of the year, so if anything goes not the way you expected, it is easy to feel really disappointed because, it’s just our birthday.

In Sandra Cisneros’ short story, Eleven, the reader is clearly presented with the scene of such disappointment. In the story, we see a young girl named Rachel on her birthday, when she is about to turn 11. And her day goes from bad to worse during her time at school. All she wants to do is to make it through the day so she can go home to celebrate her birthday, have cake, receive presents, and just have birthday fun. Of course, if you have ever waited the whole day for a cake, you know this can’t be easy. But for poor Rachel it is not getting easier at all because her teacher, Mrs. Price, forces her into a an embarrassing situation by making her wear an ugly red sweater that isn’t hers.

This is the whole plot of the story. The story itself is just four pages (twenty-two paragraphs) long. In fact, it can be more accurate if we consider this story a work of flash fiction or vignette. But sometimes there doesn’t have to be many words to make the story interesting. Even though the story is short, sweet, and to the point, a social struggle of young Rachel leaves a long-lasting impression on many readers.

Sandra Cisneros is famous as a pivotal writer in the Chicana literature movement, but what made this experimental and progressive author write what this is essentially a children’s story? It is an easy question: A publisher in Boston asked her to write a story for kids.

That story, Eleven, would in the end be permanently placed in Cisneros’ 1991 collection Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories.

The story is filled with three main symbols: red sweater, cake and happy birthday, and an eleven year old’s imagery.

The symbol of a red sweater plays an important role in the story, but it doesn’t necessarily represent one single quality or thing. It can be seen as representative of many different things. Each reader will probably have a different idea about what the red sweater represents.

The cake and the song Happy Birthday in the story are meant to provide the sense of comfort for Rachel as she struggles against the embarrassment of the red sweater.

The symbol of eleven in the story is perfect for what you’d expect an eleven year old to use. When Rachel tries to describe some concepts she doesn’t understand she uses comparisons to help her explain the point.

Birthdays can be pretty stressful occasions. Since they happen only one time a year, there’s a lot of pressure to make them the best day of the year, so if anything goes not the way you expected, it is easy to feel really disappointed because, it’s just our birthday.

In Sandra Cisneros’ short story, Eleven, the reader is clearly presented with the scene of such disappointment.

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Assignment ID
100002033
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CREATED ON
September 24, 2016
COMPLETED ON
September 25, 2016
Price
$44
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December 7, 2016
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