Study Guide

The Blue Dress

by Sandra Cisneros

The Blue Dress Themes

Themes and Meanings (Critical Guide to Poetry for Students)

“The Blue Dress” is concerned with the pathos of broken relationships and promises. By representing a couple who meet occasionally, constricted by a variety of rules (transportation schedules, house rules, codes of dress and behavior), and who convey no joy during their brief encounters, Cisneros makes the reader sense and empathize with their discomfort and anxiety. The events and situations that lead to the birth of an infant are usually associated with excitement, anticipation, and joy. None of that is suggested in the poem. The reader must conclude that the young woman will become a single parent or that her new baby will be given to the nuns for adoption.

Both protagonists were involved in this event initially, but at the time and place in which they are represented in this text, their ties are strained and untenable. While the young woman is left in the background in a swath of blue, she demonstrates more tranquillity in her situation than he, by eating heartily and by stating in the last stanza, “I am fine.” The young man, however, is burdened, ambivalent, and anxious at each meeting and departure. Finally, he buys the airline ticket which will take him far from these duties.