Eleven Introduction

Birthdays can be pretty stressful ordeals. Due to the fact that they only come around once a year, there"s a the majority of pressure to make them the best day ever, for this reason if anything go awry or if points don"t live as much as our expectations, it"s easy to feel really disappointed because, well, it"s ours birthday for crying out loud.

In Sandra Cisneros" short story, "Eleven," we obtain a front heat seat come this sort of disappointment as a young girl named Rachel"s eleventh birthday goes from bad to worse throughout a day in ~ school. Every she has to do is survive the job so she can go house for an night of cake, presents, and also birthday fun. That course, if you"ve ever waited an entire day because that cake, you recognize this won"t be easy. And it doesn"t get any easier for bad Rachel together her teacher, Mrs. Price, pressures her into a humiliating social predicament by making her wear one ugly red sweater that isn"t hers.

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That"s it. That"s the plot. It"s no much because this quick story is only four pages (twenty-two paragraphs) long. In fact, it can be an ext accurate to think about this a vignette or occupational of speed fiction. But amazing stories often come with little word counts (we"re looking your way, Chekhov), and also Cisneros" tale is no exception. Also though it"s short, sweet, and to the point, young Rachel"s social struggle has left long-lasting impressions on many a reader.

Sandra Cisneros is known as a pivotal writer in the Chicana literary works movement, but what command this progressive and experimental author to create what is essentially a children"s story? Simple: A publisher in Boston asked she to create one. As Cisneros speak the story:

I sat under to create a story because that children. <…>. I sent out it off, and also I instantly received a reply that rejected the story, saying it was not for children. Together it turns out, the is the story that people request the most and also the one that children understand the most (source).

That story, "Eleven," would eventually uncover a permanent residence in Cisneros" 1991 repertoire Woman Hollering Creek and also Other Stories and is the story we"re below to analyze in every our gimpppa.orgy glory.

Thanks to "Eleven" and also its companion stories in Woman Hollering Creek and also Other Stories, Cisneros was awarded the PEN center West compensation for finest Fiction in 1991 and also the top quality Paperback publication Club new Voices Award, the Anisfield-Wolf publication Award, and the Lannan structure Literary Award. The arsenal was also noted as a noteworthy publication that year in The new York Times and The American Library Journal.

From rejection come wide an important acclaim, the background of "Eleven" is as much a tale about change together the story itself. Take it that, haters.


What is Eleven around and Why must I Care?

One the the best things about reading is that moment when you read a passage, collection down the book, and think, "That"s true. That"s utterly, entirely, totally true; I just never placed that thought right into words before." There space a the majority of moments like that to be discovered in "Eleven," which is component of why we love the story for this reason much.

Take a look in ~ this passage appropriate at the start of the story when our narrator, eleven-year-old Rachel, tells us:

What castle don"t understand about birthdays and what they never ever tell friend is that as soon as you"re eleven, you"re also ten, and also nine, and also eight, and seven, and also six, and five, and also four, and three, and two, and one. (1)

It"s a wonderful way to think about growing up. Some days you might feel extra childish—as Rachel explains, that"s the ten-year-old part of you. Girlfriend don"t stop being ten when you turn eleven. Instead, you combine ten-year-old you into who you are and who you will become. Some days you might feel choose crying because that no reason at all, just because. That"s the three-year-old component of you. And also some job you might feel choose being larger will deal with all her problems, and that"s the component of you that never ever goes away.

Since cultivation up is something us all must do—no exceptions, no exclusions, no refunds—this story deserve to speak to every one of us, whether we"re eleven-year-old girls or not. Sure, we can not know the embarrassment of having actually a teacher pressure us to wear an ugly, old sweater the smells of cottage cheese, but chances room we have actually all suffered similar embarrassments. Don"t also get us started on those stupid monkey bars. Or center school P.E. Or that one time at band camp.

"Eleven" isn"t trying to develop a philosophy, comment on a present event, or deconstruct a cultural bias (with that said, other stories in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories may loss into these categories). Instead, it"s trying to describe an emotional experience, one common by all of us compelled to take component in that grand experiment called cultivation up—which is miscellaneous we have the right to all called to.


Eleven Resources


Home Sweet Digital HomeThe digital residence of Sandra Cisneros. You can learn around the author, she works, and also even review her save on computer of letters, if that"s your thing.

A Story of she OwnThis brief biography the Cisneros has actually all the makings of her distinct stories.


A Day at the Library through Sandra CisnerosCisneros safety the day with youngsters at the Brooklyn windy Library. One of the numerous surprising truth you"ll learn is that this famous writer was a C and D student in grade school. Why? read on to discover out.

Chit the ChatRobert Birnbaum sits down to talk with Cisneros about her then upcoming book, Caramelo. The conversation turns to topics such as Latino identity and also the blending of fact and also fiction, i m sorry may simply relate come some other works by the author.

More than Words top top a PageCisneros talks about the craft of writing and also what it means for a work to be a story. The answers room anything but textbook, and also that"s why we love her.

Two Thumbs UpPublisher weekly reviews and gives Woman Hollering Creek and also Other Stories its rubber stamp of approval.

Bad, Book, Bad!Tuscon school administrators banned numerous books, informing teachers to continue to be away from functions in i beg your pardon ""race, ethnicity and also oppression are central themes."" care to assumption: v whose story made the list?


Reading + history = AwesomeCisneros gives a public analysis of her quick story "Eleven" and gives part behind-the-scenes history of this wee-short story.

We"re not Going to take It!After the Tuscon schools banned Woman Hollering Creek and also Other Stories, virtual analysis took location in protest. Below is one such example.

Unique TakeA retelling the "Eleven" making use of pictures and also a soundtrack special Pirates that the Caribbean and also Aerosmith. No words; we have actually no words.

On WritingCisneros discusses her writing and how she obtained started in her story-telling ways. 4 minutes of your time will certainly net friend a fascinating take it on the craft.


Audible AudioNot simply "Eleven" but the totality of Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories has obtained the audiobook therapy for her listening pleasure.

Personal PlaylistCisneros share the songs that get her moving and also a grooving.

30 secs to PointCan Literature publication Reviews provide an entire review in thirty measly seconds? discover out!


Putting a face to the NameThis authorial photograph of one Sandra Cisneros is far more colorful 보다 your typical writer fare.

Number OneThis first-edition cover art attributes art occupational that is together simple, engaging, and also interesting together the stories within it.

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Current CoverThe current cover attributes a river versus a dark background that simply feels… ominous for some reason.