I think that one way that Cisneros sees herself as a rebel in her essay is because she went against the current to be the person who she is. For example, she challenged the conventional notion of cultural reality with her demeanor and attitudes towards home: "To make matters worse, I left before any of my six brothers had ventured away from home. I broke a terrible taboo. Somehow, looking back at photos of myself as a child, I wonder if I was aware of having begun already my own quiet war." In waging her own "war" for identity and her place in the world, Cisneros would very well see herself as a rebel. She is rebelling against the construction of what women were supposed to be.
A similar tendency of rebellion is seen in Cisernos's attitude towards school. Cisneros makes it clear that as a child, she did not excel in school, something that was more oppressive as a structure than anything else:
I wasn’t a very bright student. I didn’t much like school because we moved so much and I was always new and funny looking. In my fifth-grade report card I have nothing but an avalanche of C’s and D’s, but I don’t remember being that stupid. I was good at art and I read plenty of library books...At home I was fine, but at school I never opened my mouth except when the teacher called on me.
Cisneros could be seen as a rebel in how she challenged the school authority that failed to see her as anything more than an average and quiet child. She rebels against this construction because she becomes so much more. Cisneros becoming a world renowned writer is the purest act of rebellion. It embodies the greatest amount of defiance of a formal structure that was quite content in silencing her voice.