‘Eleven’ by Sandra Cisneros and ‘Mud’ by Maria Irene Fornes
Final Essay & Presentation
A short story ‘Eleven’ by Sandra Cisneros dwells upon the memories of an eleven-year-old girl that spends her birthday at school and gets into a discomforting situation with her teacher because of her lack of confidence. In spite of the multiple colloquial phrases and childish expressions, this is a very philosophical piece of writing. It touches upon such global and adult issues as experience, freedom, aging, life and death, knowledge and restrictions. The symbolism is very sophisticated here – under the veiled mask of a simple classroom occasion the writer sets multiple questions. Do people gather enough experience with age? What secret knowledge and power is revealed after each birthday? Can a simple life situation drive one at an older age more efficiently than real calendar time does? The complexity of an eleven-year-old girl (who is almost a teenager, by the way) is derived from the first-person style of narration. The author tries to hide her real wisdom and age through the expressions like “little animal noises” but it still seems not convincing because so many serious questions are being asked in each paragraph of the story. She is very capable in understanding her own emotions and thoughts – an ability that is not very typical for such a young age is eleven. Her descriptions of the surrounding world are very clear and comprehensive; the usage of metaphors is quite mature in spite of the phrasing.
One of the strong sides of this literary piece is the extremely high emotionality and the ability to look inside the mind of a person with complete sincerity and transparency of the thoughts. The reader can easily attain additional information about the true personality of Rachel. The main heroine – she is very emotional, curious and behaves like an adaptable child in all life situations. She believes what the adults say and finds it difficult to say no to anyone who is older. She appreciates the experience and wisdom demonstrated by her teacher even knowing that she is completely wrong in pressing Rachel to some unpleasant actions. The reader can also understand that Rachel is not very different from her classmates of the same age: she accepts such small things as wearing an alien sweater as a personal tragedy, and she refuses to believe that her anticipated birthday can be a regular day. Rachel’s power is in the deep understanding the core of the life experience – she realizes that she does not have enough life experience for being completely free and independent. Rachel associates authority and freedom with age – this is connected with the inner changes like self-confidence growth, and with the changes accepted in the society. The most amazing conclusion that Rachel drives to is about age – people tend to display the characteristics of different age stages they have already passed during their entire life. The most important ability is to overcome the obstacle of age trying to behave like a mature person when you are not really. This is what Rachel wants to achieve, and though she tries hard to say no to Mrs. Pierce she eventually fails . She does not know what actions need to be taken in hostile situations – she feels herself at a complete loss in such a simple situation such as the one with the sweater. Being thirty you can still behave like you are three if you throw a temper tantrum, like five feeling unconfident and unsure, like eleven when not able to respond adequately and explain your feelings to others. Nevertheless, most people find it almost impossible to behave like a thirty-year-old when you are eleven. Rachel wishes to be a hundred and two in order to know life and have enough wisdom to protect her own...