9/19/14 Ms. Changa/ Ms. Loveshim
Literary Devices in “Eleven”
Literary devices such as imagery, repetition, and point of view are often used in literature to convey a message to the reader. In her short story “Eleven”, Sandra Cisneros uses literary elements to express how she feels throughout the entire story. The major theme in Cisneros’ short story is coming of age, which she describes as Rachel turns 11 in her birthday. Her story is like any child who didn’t feel an immediate change in age on their birthday and how sometimes wishes to be another age. Sandra uses literary elements to make a point to support her theme and express the emotions of the main character.
The author uses imagery to show Rachel’s feelings when she feels troubled by her teacher, Mrs. Price. Even though Rachel tells her teacher that the red sweater isn’t hers, Mrs. Price claims that she remembers Rachel wearing the sweater and puts it on Rachel’s desk. The quote, “I don’t know why but all of a sudden I’m feeling sick inside, like the part of me that’s three wants to come out of my eyes”, makes use of the reader’s senses to show how upset Rachel feels. Rachel was feeling angry and disappointed that Mrs. Price is forcing her to wear a sweater she insists she doesn’t own. Cisneros also uses imagery to describe the red sweater Rachel wants no part of in the quote, “It’s an ugly sweater with red plastic buttons and a collar and sleeves all stretched out like you could use it for a jump rope.” This puts a picture of sweater in the reader’s mind and helps us understand why Rachel doesn’t like the red sweater.
Sandra Cisneros makes a powerful point with the use of repetition. She begins her story by writing, “What they don’t understand about birthdays and what they never tell you is that when you’re eleven, you’re also ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three and two and one.” Cisneros repeats this phrase again at the end of the story but with a small change, she adds that Rachel wishes she was 102. I think Cisneros is trying to say that when someone turns a certain age, they don’t lose their life experiences they learned at other ages. For example, Rachel turns 11 years old but still wants to cry like when she was 3 when she feels hurt by Mrs. Price. Rachel also says she was 102 because she wanted to stand up to Mrs. Price and be more confident. Rachel repeats that she is eleven