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Lynn Sukalo AP Literature and Composition 1 September 2009 Timed Write 1A: “Eleven” The short story “Eleven,” written by Sandra Cisneros, is a splendid account of a young girl who expresses her inability to fully understand the maturing process she is undergoing. Therefore, the theme of this piece is coming of age. Rachel, the protagonist, narrates one of her experiences in life via marvelous comparisons and through her eyes it is perceived how she truly feels. One of the strongest feelings that this story conveys is the difficulty of handling and comprehending the idea of “…the way you grow old.” Cisneros, through her use of literary devices expresses the idea of how one acts while maturing. She describes this process with various images like the similes of the onions, the rings of the inner tree trunk and the Matryoshka dolls. What the author does is compare every age one goes through to a layer of every one of these objects. For instance, by a child’s fifth birthday one would have accumulated five layers as compared to a tree; therefore, she exemplifies how a person cannot be who they are today without the past years lived being accounted for. This is also the case for the onion and doll analogy. With this in mind, Rachel expresses her frustration with these “rings,” or layers, for the reason that when she turns 11 she still feels as if she were 10. According to her it may take “sometimes even months” before one feels 11, and before she expects it she acts idiotically as an 11-year-old would do. Unfortunately, it is as noticeable as the noise made by pennies in a tin Band-Aid box, which is an example of tactile and auditory imagery. Through the implementation of other visual imagery, Cisneros exhibits how Rachel experiences maturing and physical development. She mentions how the sweater’s sleeves are “all stretched out” and how they can be used as a jump rope. Clearly, Rachel unconsciously projects herself through the unscrupulous description of the “ugly” sweater. This interpretation may be drawn up through the recognition of the normal process of growing. It is common in preadolescence for one’s extremities to grow longer than others, or just simply grow at a different rate. This of course, would make any juvenile uncomfortable, since their extremities would seem disproportionate to the other appendages of the body. Rachel even tried to suppress the existence of the sweater, or her odd physique, by closing her eyes. However, when she opens her eyes the sweater is still there “like a big red mountain,” and she is still 11. Overall, “Eleven” is a coming of age story that, through visual imagery and other literary devices, tells how a young girl sees the maturing process that she undergoes. Cisneros overall message is about the perception of how one matures, and how that compares to elements around us. This shows that the years one has lived play a crucial role in who we are today. Consequently, those attitudes are bound to come up when going through other life occurrences.