Geraldo No Last Name Style and Technique

Sandra Cisneros

Style and Technique

(Comprehensive Guide to Short Stories, Critical Edition)

The writing style of “Geraldo No Last Name” is simple, as is Cisneros’s style in her other House on Mango Street vignettes. Simulating the speech patterns of the story’s young narrator, the language is economical, as if the narrator wishes to express as many ideas as possible in the fewest possible words. In this respect, Cisneros’s prose resembles poetry by compressing ideas. Moreover, there are no superfluous embellishments in her prose, so that the reader easily accepts the presence of a young narrator telling Geraldo’s story in her own words. In addition to the reader, there is evidence that the narrator is relating the story to someone else whom she addresses as “you” in the fifth paragraph of the story.

The encounter of Marin and Geraldo is presented immediately in the opening sentences: “She met him at a dance. Pretty too, and young.” The narrator clarifies rather quickly the idea that the young man is “pretty” or looks pretty when she mentions that he is wearing his “Saturday shirt.” This is equivalent to stating that he is wearing his Sunday clothes—those that he reserves for when he is not working.

The hit-and-run accident that kills Geraldo is also mentioned early in the story, for this tragedy is an integral part of the major theme of the story, Geraldo’s anonymity. Marin’s fondness for dancing, which provides the reason for her being in the dance hall that night, is amply explained by...

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