Sandra Cisneros

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In "Barbie-Q," what is the story theme?

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In Sandra Cisneros’s lovely short story “Barbie-Q,” themes of poverty and desire are discussed, as referenced by a couple of the other answers. Another theme Cisneros toys with is the ideal of womanhood in modern society. Barbie dolls are held to be flawless (even unachievable) ideals of feminine beauty. The toys have changed with the times: Barbie has shifted from the classic housewife to a career woman of many different sorts. However, she is always packaged in her improbable “body.” The two girls in this short story view Barbie with the same reverence as many young woman who play with dolls, but Cisneros goes out of her way to display that the dolls themselves—and the ways the girls talk about them—are flawed.

First, there are the literal flaws. The dolls the girls find at the end of the story are made affordable because “a big toy warehouse… burned down yesterday.” These paragons of femininity are born out of tragedy , which might be Cisneros claiming that most...

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