Storytelling through Different Eyes and Cultures

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Storytelling through Different Eyes and Cultures
Sandra Cisneros has greatly established herself as the best-read U.S. Latina writer, with her well known novel Caramelo she brings to readers the inside lives of a Mexican-American. When Cisneros starts off her novel she automatically starts mentioning bright colors, such as all of these comparisons with color, they are powerfully displayed by the image of the rebozo. We will encounter the rebozo in this novel frequently. Ethnicity has been a symbolic and evolving presence in Cisneros’s texts. She uses the rebozo as a symbolic item to show the reader the motif of being a woman. The rebozo in Caramelo serves as a representation of Cisneros’ culture as a symbolic piece, being unraveled and then knotted again and unraveled once again, allows Cisneros the “white lies” which are healthy lies to complete a story even if they are with lies. The white lies are to be represented by the rebozo because the throughout the story it is emphasizes that it is incomplete and will not be a full rebozo, just like her story is somewhat true but with the lies it will not be a full story. Cisneros letting the reader know ahead of time that not all of the facts stated are real and she used lies to complete the story through the eyes on a young girl. These lies sets her on a different approach to storytelling compared to Gaines in A Lesson Before Dying and Okada’s narrative strategies in No No Boy because Gaines uses two points of view to tell the same story and Okada uses first and third person narrative while she uses lies and one person narrative to tell the whole story. Therefore I, as a reader take on Cisneros storytelling differently, the reason behind that is that I am Mexican-American myself. Sandra, as a young woman, had to revisit her past through her writing, and that would bring her success. She had to go back in order to move forward. This restless movement back and forth in time and space becomes even more intense in Caramelo, an epic story of a Mexican American family with four generations and covering a territory from Chicago to Mexico City. With Caramelo, Cisneros disturbed a world that might have not approved of her “white lies” to complete stories throughout her novel. Cisneros made it so the characters would all sweeten reality and leave out several memories because of the typical Mexican mania for “quedar bien” (end on a good note).

In this unique way of storytelling Lala introduces her family to the reader with one of a long series of traditional stereotypes, her father, Inocencio, and his two brothers racing in cars crammed with kids ,a white Cadillac, a green Impala, and a red Chevy station wagon, the colors of the Mexican flag. The family ends in Destiny Street and the real woman of Destiny Street and is the engine that powers the entire plot is the “Awful Grandmother,” who has an excessive amount of love for her eldest son. The Awful Grandmother has great significance in the storytelling of the rebozo in this novel. The rebozo represents the Awful Grandmother’s childhood and roots, which was she was left with when her mother dies. The rebozo represents the Awful Grandmother’s roots because as a young child her mother was a well known woman for selling and making intricate rebozos. The day her mother dies all that she left was an unfinished piece of rebozo that was given to the grandmother. It represents her childhood roots because it shows the reader how the grandmother grew up and later we see that the unraveling and knotting of the rebozo is somewhat like the grandmothers life. The frequent mentioning of the rebozo plays a sense of a time machine.

Cisneros’s way of storytelling was made to be more than official history and the well-known family “healthy lies,” she prefers forming her storytelling as gossips, legends, rumors and half-truths she makes with her imagination. This goes back to relating to the rebozo because just like the story is somewhat complete and...
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