March 17, 2012
In her short story, “Only Daughter” Sandra Cisneros portrays as the progressive, intelligent female in a male-dominated family and society. She considers herself deserving of the attention of her male superiors despite widespread sexism that reigns in her community. However, despite her said belief in the importance of a female’s education, Sandra is no empowered female, no feminist, and no independent women. In fast she is quite the opposite, enforcing the oppressive powers that restrain her by buckling under their weight.
Despite what appears to be movement toward an intelligent independence, her father may be right to say that Sandra’s education was wasted. Nowhere in the short story does the reader see Sandra moving from the forces that oppress her as women. Instead, Sandra oppresses herself, made apparent by her clear desperation for the approval of her father.
Sandra considers herself deserving of her father’s respect but she does not earn it. Instead, Sandra passively sails through the life she is dealt. In truth, Sandra never does anything for herself except for her choose to study English. Even her decision to major in English seems driven by petty, antagonism, a half- hearted rebellion against her non-English speaking father. Sandra gently mocks herself; this allowed me the liberty to putter about, embroidering my little poems and stories without my father interrupting with so much as “What’s that you’re writing?”
It only get worse, Sandra goes o to confess everything she has ever written has been to win her father’s approval. As the only daughter of her family, Sandra’s is the minority, and she represents all females of the world. The men in her family already think it’s beneath them to associate with her. Her father does not bother to challenge the semantics of the Spanish language by distinguishing that he actually has only seis hijos and una hija rather the simply siete hijos. The world and the future of equality of the sexes is resting on Sandra’s’ shoulders with each interaction in which she feels unappreciated because she is female, disregarded and rejected. Sandra could have spoken up when her father wishfully calls her one of his sons. She could have actively found a new, more caring audience to write for and devote herself to yet she does nothing to challenge for position, nothing to deserve their respect. She embodied the passive female archetype she claims to be rebelling against, and for that, Sandra is a failure.