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Transcript of Eleven
Why do you think Sandra Cisneros chose to tell "Eleven" from the viewpoint of the young girl rather than of an omniscient narrator? What effect does this have?
What is the source of Mrs. Price's authority? Is it solely "because she's older and the teacher?"
In what ways does Cisnero's juxtaposition of home life and school life make for an effective rhetorical strategy?
Discuss the figurative language in this story, especially the similies. What purposes do they serve?
In which is this a story about having a voice in society, about who gets to talk and who gets heard?
Point of View
How is it Relevent in Society?
The author presents the story in order to provide the childs point of view and how they feel when in a situation dealing with the authority of education systems. She claims that although age is often associated with maturity, maturity levels of each age stay with a person as they grow older. She tells the story to give a specific example of her ideas, and also achieves the purpose of providing a new mindset for aging as well, as seen by the child.
Point of view:
sense of powerlessness, vulnerability, and sensitivity
, and allows such powerlessness to be
juxtaposed with the higher authority of older people
like Mrs. Price.
"You open your eyes and everything's just like yesterday, only it's today."
The story is mixed with both short and long sentences. The short sentences help us as readers recognize the youth in the narrator, just like she says "when you're eleven, you're also ten, and nine, and eight..."
Also it gives the powerless sense in the narrator. While the long sentences show the more intellectual part of her that give precise details and descriptions. The sentence structure makes it an easy read. We were all young at a point and know how the young write very simply and to the point.
This is comparing the feeling of waking up another year older and still feeling normal like any other day.
This signifies that being another year older doesn't change you, it's just another year lived.
"And maybe one day when you're all grown up maybe you will need to cry
like if you're three, and that's okay."
This compares being older and crying to acting like a child.
This contributes to how being upset when you're older is okay. An adult is still a person and has feelings, same as three year old
"Because the way you grow old is kind of like an onion or like the rings
inside a tree trunk or like my little wooden dolls that fit one inside the
This is comparing growing older and gaining years to the many layers in an onion and the build up of rings in a tree trunk. Representing adding another year to complete a person.
This signifies that a person wouldn't be the same with a year missing, just like how an onion wouldn't be the same with a missing layer, yet also uses the inner layers.
"I want today to be far away already, far away like a runaway balloon, like a tiny o in the sky."
Throughout story the descriptions of instances where the teacher was involved were very uncomfortable versus the comfort conveyed when describing how things would be with her parents.
The story "eleven" is relevent in our society because children in school have to face such situations everyday. There point of view is rarely taken into consideration because, well, they're children. But then again, they are treated as their someone their age should be treated, without considering that regardless of age, people mature at different rates.
Most of us can relate to Rachel. We can empathize with Rachel wanting to be older because most of us have been in a situation where we feel pressured into adulthood and wishing we were already such older to be able to handle that situation, exceeding the required maturity level.
This compares Rachel's feeling of wanting to grow up to a balloon floating away.
This juxtaposition between her home life and her school life allows us to see how uncomfortable and targeted the extreme authority of teachers makes students feel. At school, children are supposed to be in a comfortable, welcoming environment in order to learn and thrive. Sandra Cisneros' story conveys the exact opposite. The contrast between the two environments really allows us to see the effect the teachers excessive authority is having on students mentally.
Why not omniscient?
Focuses on the reasoning behind a person that's younger
is not respected as an authority by the older figures
for older figures having greater authority is "
Because [they're] older... [they're] right
and," the younger figure "is wrong," according to the child perspective.
perspective of a child
is used to
expand on the difficulties that stick around with age
, and how
complete maturity has to develop before it's ready to take over
Rachel, the protagonist, has very mature thoughts
for her age, but the
qualities of her younger ages keep her thoughts from becoming actions
perspective of a young child
meant to juxtapose maturity with the stumbles and falls
from younger ages
context of the education system
could serve as a means to
communicate to all the Mrs. Prices
out there that the
kids they deal with CAN handle themselves
need help growing
into that mature state.
"Mama is making a cake for me tonight, and when my Papa comes home everybody will
sing Happy birthday, happy birthday to you.
But when the sick feeling goes away and I open my eyes, the red sweater's still sitting there like a big red mountain. I moves the red sweater to the corner of my desk with my ruler."
The author transitions from an explanation of a presented idea to telling a story to develop that idea. For example, after the author describes how people grow older but not necessarily more mature, she gives an example of a 12 year old child acting like a three year old in a certain situation. Then, towards the end of the story, the author transitions back to reflecting on the example and how it demonstrates her idea. This is effective in clearly showing her point to the reader.
by Sandra Cisneros
"11" year old girl named Rachel
Rachel's 11th birthday
Rachel wakes up on her 11th birthday realizing how she doesn't feel 11 (she doesn't feel like she has the maturity of an 11 year old).
After her realizations and elaboration on those realizations, Rachel describes her birthday experience at school. Basically, she's minding her own business when the teacher, Mrs. Price, asks the class who owned a big, red, ugly sweater that she had found in the room a month beforehand. Without having any desire to be involved in the matter, a classmate (Sylvia Saldivar) suggests that Rachel owned the sweater.
Mrs. Price, accepting Sylvia's response, makes Rachel take the sweater and put it on after Rachel puts up a childish defense (because she knows that ugly hunk o' junk isn't hers. Soon after, classmate Phyllis Lopez claims the sweater as hers (had she done so from the start, the issue wouldn't have to exist; that's part of the whole maturity theme the story is aimed at).
Following the experience, Rachel goes on about how she wished she had the maturity and experience in that moment to resolve the conflict she had with Mrs. Price.
This adds the the authors credibility, showing the reader that she has direct experience with the very one sided education system. Using her own personal story that conveys how she felt in such a situation allows the reader to know that what is being presented is accurate and can be trusted.
All the similes contribute to conveying how in school, students are expected to grow up fairly quickly and dive into adulthood. The similies in this story really show how the students feel about growing up, even though you are a certain age, you need time for it to actually feel as though you reach that age. The one sided education system doesn't see age as an aquired thing, but rather as levels you have to go through and expectations are much higher each time. It's not understood that even though you get older and older, you still have all the ages you had to go through.