Examine the characterization of Rachel in "Eleven."  

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In Sandra Cisneros' story "Eleven," Rachel, the narrator and protagonist, is both quite wise for a girl of her age and quite insecure.

Rachel shows a wisdom that is unusual for a girl of eleven. She realizes, for instance, that even though today is her eleventh...

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In Sandra Cisneros' story "Eleven," Rachel, the narrator and protagonist, is both quite wise for a girl of her age and quite insecure.

Rachel shows a wisdom that is unusual for a girl of eleven. She realizes, for instance, that even though today is her eleventh birthday, she doesn't feel eleven. She also thinks about how a person can be eleven yet still hold all the other ages inside her and that they come to the surface at various times. One might easily cry and go back to feeling like three. Even adults do this, she notes, thinking of how her Mama cries sometimes.

Rachel is also aware of her own insecurity. She wishes she were a hundred and two so she would know just how to act when a classmate tells her teacher that the horrible red sweater in the coatroom is Rachel's. Apparently, the sweater isn't hers at all, but Rachel has trouble getting the words out. Her teacher intimidates her. Rachel, therefore, speaks in a small, weak voice, and her teacher doesn't believe her.

Rachel is humiliated, and she tries hard not to cry. She thinks of the birthday cake her mother is baking for her and how she will celebrate with her parents that evening. Yet her self-control slips when her teacher calls attention to her again and makes her put on the sweater. Rachel starts to cry. She wishes that she were far away, like a balloon rising up in the sky.

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