How would the effect of  Cisneros's "Straw Into Gold: The Metamorphosis of the Everyday" have been different if she had not mentioned her weaknesses, such as her inability to come out of her shell?

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akannan's profile pic

Ashley Kannan | Middle School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted on

I think that part of the greatness of Cisernos's essay is that her challenges as a child make her story even more vibrant and triumphant.  The refrain from the essay is that Cisneros has made a life out of defining the expectations and thoughts from others and herself:  "I’ve managed to do a lot of things in my life I didn’t think I was capable of and which many others didn’t think I was capable of either."  When Cisneros says this along with "I’ve done all kinds of things I didn’t think I could do since then," it becomes meaningful because of her initial weaknesses.  The conditions of the world around her as well as the expectations of this upon her own sense of identity as a woman, as Latina, as a thinker, and as an artist are enhanced because of the weaknesses she experienced.  The challenges of coming out of her shell, the challenges of school, and the challenges of living a life that could have been determined by external forces make her narrative in the essay more profound.  

If these weaknesses are not mentioned, the essay loses its force.  It would become more didactic and one- dimensional.  In the idea of being able to spring straw into gold with "imagination," Cisneros makes clear that human identity is influenced, but not necessarily defined in a determinant way by our weaknesses.  Cisneros's mention of her weaknesses enhances the narrative of the essay.  It amplifies its power.  When these weaknesses are absent, a significant aspect of Cisneros's characterization is also lost.  It is for this reason that mentioning of her own weaknesses in her life adds to the power and intensity of the essay.

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nimodahir's profile pic

nimodahir | (Level 1) eNoter

Posted on

they would have found her out anyways and i think that its better that she actually told the truth before someone else found out.

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