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Eleven by Sandra Cisneros

Essay by review  •  September 6, 2010  •  Essay  •  658 Words (3 Pages)  •  1,232 Views

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Eleven

"Eleven" by Sandra Cisneros, uses many literary devices to characterize a complex eleven-year-old. Rachel, the ingenuous 1st person narrator, describes the details of her humiliating eleventh birthday. Although her diction reflects her age, Rachel conveys the difficulty of growing up with adult precision. She is embarrassed and feels helpless whenever she tries to talk, but knows she will soon be home with her parents, and her terrible day will drift away.

Rachel's age is given away not only by the title, but also by her word choice. She makes use of numerous similes, describing crying like uncontrollable hiccups, drinking milk to fast, and little animal noises. Her confidence rattles like "pennies in a tin Band-Aid Box," and she is always on the edge of lapsing into another session of tears. However, Rachel's diction does not simple betray her age. Descriptions like "smells like cottage cheese" are insights into her true personality. She is passionate and curious, almost to a fault. Because she describes things like runaway balloons, she is a believable eleven-year-old.

First person narration reveals though, Rachel's thoughts are those of a typical eleven-year-old, her descriptive ability is more mature. Rachel has an uncanny ability to convey her feelings. However, because she is an ingenuous narrator, she sometimes misses the deeper significance of her feelings. Although she twice mentions she is looking forward to cake, her birthday song, and normal birthday things, she does not mention she also needs the comfort of her parents. On the other hand, unlike most older, or mature, people, she understands enough about life experience to know she does not have enough. Twice she mentions she would like to have the experience of someone who is one hundred and two. At eleven Rachel realizes that with experience comes confidence, personal strength, and most important to her, knowing what to do in hostile situations. As amazing as those thoughts are, Rachel's most impressive thought is about age. She understands that people display the characteristics of the ages they have passed. She understands that although she is eleven, she can still be scared like she is five, or cry like she is three. What she does not grasp is that people can display characteristics beyond their years. Rachel displays that advanced maturity in her thoughts.

The only dialogue in the story is between

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