Sandra Cisneros

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What symbols do you find in the story ''Barbie-Q''? Is there a commonality to them?

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Hollis Sanders eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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The story "Barbie-Q" reads almost like a prose poem because of the way it throws huge bursts of imagery at the reader, completely immersing them in the moment and putting them in the mind of the excited young girls. Every time a particular barbie ensemble is mentioned, the description of every piece of the outfit is frantically listed afterward.

On a surface level, this is symbolic of the girls's obsession with the dolls themselves. On another level, it represents the performative expectation of women in the world. The story mentions several times that the two girls are from families of meager means; there is no doubt that they are already familiar with their perceived economic shortcomings. This leads to a moment of personal triumph when they receive dolls that survived a toy warehouse fire. Despite their wear and damage, the girls still love them.

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The symbols in Cisneros's story are the Barbies—both those the characters have originally and those that come from the warehouse fire. The...

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