27 pages 54 minutes read

Sandra Cisneros


Fiction | Short Story | YA | Published in 1991

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Character Analysis


Rachel is the first-person narrator of this story, which takes place on her 11th birthday. Rachel comes from a loving family, and her narration suggests she has a rich family life. This care is apparent in Rachel’s eager anticipation for her birthday at home, where her mother will bake a cake, her father will come home from work, and then “everybody” will sing the birthday song. The stream-of-consciousness narration represents Rachel as a character with a rich inner life and background that the wider world is utterly oblivious to, evidenced by her comparative isolation at school.

Despite her supportive family, Rachel struggles with anxiety in the classroom, and she’s better at articulating her perspective internally than externally. This is made clear by the relatively complex rhetoric of her internal thoughts as compared to her weak and unassertive dialogue. In her inner monologue, Rachel narrates, “And when you wake up on your eleventh birthday, you expect to feel eleven, but you don’t. You open your eyes and everything’s just like yesterday, only it’s today. And you don’t feel eleven at all. You still feel like you’re ten.