Eleven By Sandra Cisneros and The Road Back To Sweetgrass

Categories: Plot

Everyone has feelings, and oftentimes they are heavily impacted by the surrounding area. It is quite common for the people to affect people’s state of mind and the way they perceive themselves. Grover and Cisneros criticize the authoritative figures and well respected individuals in social settings make the inexperienced and minority population feel inferior and underestimate in their works, The Road Back to Sweetgrass and Eleven.

Minorities are faced with discrimination on a daily. Dale Ann is a Native American in The Road Back the Sweetgrass, written by Linde LeGarde Grover, and deals with racism quite frequently.

When she is at a gas station, a white woman calls her a dirty pig for accidentally walking in on someone in the bathroom who did not have the door locked. Dale Ann, instead of standing up for herself, she tries to be the bigger person by showing respect while holding the door open for the woman. The white woman misreads the situation, and the outrage that she expresses towards Dale Ann clearly has an effect on her, for Dale Ann becomes very quiet and timid.

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As this event takes place in 1970, white people are more respected than people of color, meaning that Dale Ann is in the wrong in this situation simply because of the color of her skin. What is ironic in this situation is that after the lady called Dale Ann a dirty pig, Dale Ann had to flush the toilet for her. This shows the arrogance of the white community, and more specifically, the woman in this position.

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She thinks that she is better simply because of her skin, and because of the time setting, many other people think the same. This state of mentality from the respected members of society affects all the minorities and limits them to only being as great as what the outside world thinks they can be. This type of treatment is not just in one location, this happens in many places all over the world. When Dale Ann moves to Chicago to become a telephone operator her roommates throw a little party with their friends. Dale Ann is left out of the activities and made fun of. When Dale Ann goes to her room to escape the situation she is sexually harassed by Paul and then later called a seal. This leaves Dale Ann feeling like an object and not someone to be treated with respect. Because Paul is white, he feels entitled to make decisions for people of a lower class and decide what they are feeling to make his actions justified. Dale Ann does not move after the incident takes place. This shows how she feels secondary and belittles by the experience.

Although minorities make up a large percentage of the mistreated people in this world, they are not the only ones. In Sandra Cisneros's Eleven, Rachel describes her experiences of being eleven years old and when she is accused of owning a sweater by a fellow classmate and her teacher, Mrs. Price even after claiming it is not hers. Rachel expresses how little she feels and says that “because [Mrs. Price] is older and the teacher, she’s right” . This demonstrates how much power the authoritative figure has over the youth. Mrs. Price chooses to believe one student over the other without hearing both sides of the story and gets away with it. Mrs. Price is the person with the most authority and she determines the validity of everyone in the room. This displays how powerful people can belittle the people under them and how young and inexperienced people are often underestimated and are not trusted. Authority figures have the power to ignore the mistakes they make with their arrogance, because they often have the most power in the setting. This can also be seen when another one of Rachel's classmates, Phyllis Lopez, finally speaks up and admits that the sweater is hers. Mrs. Price still does not admit to her faults and “only pretends like everything is okay”. This communicates how Rachel’s self image has been brought down, for she is embarrassed that no one in the class stood up for her because the teacher is always right. The use of the word “pretend” shows the disappointment in Mrs. Price that Rachel has for underestimating her and not believing her the first time she says the sweater is not hers. The lack of responsibility Mrs. Price takes for her false accusations and assumptions displays how Cisneros believes that the people of authority who use their power to tear others down are immature and disrespectful.

These modern texts show how social settings can significantly change a person’s attitude and state of mind. This especially applies to the minorities and youth populations of the world.

Updated: Feb 24, 2024
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Eleven By Sandra Cisneros and The Road Back To Sweetgrass. (2024, Feb 24). Retrieved from https://studymoose.com/eleven-by-sandra-cisneros-and-the-road-back-to-sweetgrass-essay

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