Eleven By Sandra Cisneros Analysis

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Sandra Cisneros paints the uncomfortable picture of growing up in her 1991 short story Eleven, a piece formidably portraying how age deals with hardships differently as life progresses and wisdom gathers. Cisneros fashions a loss of innocence through Rachel within a merciless world, utilizing the techniques of repetition, similes and symbolism to further emphasize life lessons learned through age. Through the use of repetition, Cisneros stresses Rachel’s running from wolves, breathing heavily at her feet, at an age young and spry. These wolves lacked teeth, unable to be deadly, but still instilled fear. Rachel repeats age, “ten, and nine, and eight, and seven…”(3), peeling away at the layers of lessons concerning both herself and the life around…show more content…
Rachel has a deep understanding of how her age and their layers of experience coincide with a person as a whole, a representation of a level of experience. The older you are, the better grasp you have on the happenings around you. Even with that better grasp, the inexperience of younger ages lurk, waiting to break you in moments of unfamiliarity. She goes on to repeat the saying, “I wish I was one hundred and two”(31), wanting so badly to better handle the humiliating situation dropped on her shoulders. To be one hundred and two, you would have seen and withstood all the world could throw at you. Rachel yearns for such strength and wisdom, but is only eleven. With this desire comes a lesson in itself, a lesson to pack into her toolbox for future use. With the intrusion of the ugly red sweater that isn’t hers upon her desk, she echoes the words “Not mine”(59), her mind reeling for a tool, words, to make such an embarrassing burden disappear.…show more content…
The depiction of “an ugly sweater with red plastic buttons and a collar and sleeves all stretched out like you could use it for a jump rope”(42-44) presents a rag used and poor. Forced upon her, Rachel sees such a garment as a reduction of herself, lessening her worth. This occurrence can be seen as a window into the real world of a minority, constantly repressed and burdened with issues never asked for. Cisneros utilizes such issues to push Rachel into the unforgiving ocean of the real world, all through an ugly red sweater. Invading, “the red sweater’s still sitting there like a big red mountain”(70-71), a mountain blocking her view, unable to see past such a hindrance that she is properly engulfed by. As hard as she tries to ignore the mountain in sight, her mind and eyes are drawn again. Rachel has no choice but to climb over the issue, through a trail dark and full of terrors, exposure at its best. Amid her clumsy pursuit over the red sweater, Rachel had “shoved the red sweater to the tippy-tip corner of [her] desk… hanging all over the edge like a waterfall”(81-83). The mountain had been downsized into a flow of red, symbolic of the unyielding menstrual cycle. Shoving it away in reaction to such a lack of control, her trek over the mountain proving all the more difficult with the appearance of alien emotions and uncomfortable
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