Short Story #271: Eleven by Sandra Cisneros

Title:  Eleven 

Author:  Sandra Cisneros


Photo of Sandra Cisneros.  Source
The narrator, Rachel, explains that turning eleven doesn't seem to change anything.  There's an expectation of becoming eleven but there is no follow through.  There is no difference in being ten or eleven.  She notes the contrast in how one acts at different ages and that one might shift between ages depending upon what is going on with them.  She further explains that if she was older then she would have known how to react when her teacher began asking about a sweater.  Another student says it's Rachel's and Rachel thinks she said this out of spite because the sweater is ugly.  When the teacher further asks, she denies it, but the teacher decides that it is and puts it on her desk.  Rachel is upset by this and frustrated by the action to the point that she is near tears.  She clings to the idea of being eleven and not allowing it to happen.  She distances herself from the sweater and the teacher scolds her for it.  She insists that she puts the sweater on.  It's too much for her to bear and she's bursts into tears.  Just after this, another student finally speaks up and says that it is hers.  The story ends with her wishing she was anything but eleven.


Cisneros captures so well the experience of age and what it means to grow up as a child and young adult.  Age is this arbitrary marker of the passage of time and at times, I think youth feel this and are frustrated by it--even if they cannot speak to it as well as the narrator in this story.  

Short Story #271 out of 365
Rating: 3 (out of 5 stars)
Date Read:  8/1/2014
Source:  The short story can be found at this website.  

For a full listing of all the short stories in this series, check out the category 365 Short Stories a year.

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