Eleven Poem

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“Eleven” depicts a young and composite character, Rachel, whose birthday experience instills the connection between wisdom, intelligence, and maturity, using literary devices. In the story, Rachel’s teacher, Mrs. Price insists that Rachel wears a repulsive red sweater that does not even belong to her. Feeling powerless to her teacher’s authority, Rachel reluctantly obeys, but her emotions push at her until she breaks down crying. Sandra Cisneros’ diction, along with her similes and repetition, allow the reader to unravel the threads that make up the eleven year old girl.

The author gives Rachel the naïve and childish attributes that any child would possess. The diction portrays her childishness by using silly adjectives such as “stupid Sylvia Saldivar” to describe her classmate, and “tippy-tip corner” and even “tiny-tiny” to describe a balloon. The playful words show that even though she is a complex character, Rachel still has a young mind. Cisneros also uses similes to characterize Rachel’s immaturity. When describing how she feels while she is crying, Rachel says “… and it’s just my body shaking like when you have hiccups, and my whole head hurts like when you drink milk too fast.” She also compares the stretched sleeves of the red sweater to a jump rope, and aging to her little wooden dolls. Hiccups, drinking milk, jump rope, dolls; all off these things are thought of as typicalchildish acts or even stereotypes. The act of using similes itself shows immaturity because Rachel does not know any other way to describe these things. She uses the experiences she has had in the past to compare to her new experiences since she does not have the write adjectives to explain them.

Rachel makes it clear that she is aware of her immaturity and that she wants nothing more than the wisdom that comes with age. Diction comes into play again when Rachel says a couple times that she wishes she could be one hundred and two. The author chooses to use one...
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