In "Straw Into Gold: The Metamorphosis of the Everyday," why do you think Cisneros makes an allusion to the "Rumpelstiltskin" tale in her essay?

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

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I tend to think that the primary allusion to Rumpelstiltskin is to represent the idea of "spinning straw into gold."  The fairy tale's meaning is predicated upon turning something deemed as worthless into something of great value to many. Straw to gold is what Cisneros uses to articulate her own narrative in the essay:  "Along the way there has been straw for the taking. With a little imagination, it can be spun into gold."  For Cisneros, her life has been one where the presence of straw has been abundant.  As a girl, as someone of Latina descent, as one who was deemed as shy and not very successful in school, there have been moments where she was left for "straw," as one who lacked value.  However, over time, Cisneros makes the point that "with a little imagination," she was able to transform into something of value for herself and many others.  The use of the fairy tale illuminates that there are moments where this transformation can take place. This is underscored with the allusion in the title and in the close of the essay.  Cisneros affirms the idea that there are instances where something deemed as worthless by so many can have redeeming and restorative purposes.  This is where I think that the allusion to the fairy tale gains importance and meaning.  In using the fairy tale, Cisneros inverts it to represent how voice and power can emerge from settings that might initially seem to be devoid of it.

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