The Life and Works of Sandra Cisneros

By , North Plainefield, NJ

Sandra Cisneros is a great Mexican-American poet and author. She was born in 1954, the decade of a booming economy, but it was also an era of conflict. She wrote many famous literary works such as the novel The House on Mango Street and the poem “Cloud”. In her time, Cisneros was different from other traditional American authors because she had much more to say about race and class from an immigrant family’s point of view (Martin 3). Besides the era of her youth, Cisneros’s childhood and her family background had such a strong influence on her that she was inspired to write her short story called, “My Lucy Friend Who Smells like Corn”.
     

Cisneros was shy when she was a young girl. She grew up surrounded by a large family with seven children and she was the only girl among them. So, early on, she had a strong understanding of gender differences. Because sometimes her brothers could not understand her, she was lonely, and always yearned for a close sister (friend). During her childhood, her family moved a lot across the country, and this led to her to not having friends. Everywhere she moved, the poverty of the buildings around their houses were burned-out, and the neighborhoods were always empty (Sagel 74). So, she sometimes felt displaced from others. On the other hand, even though she was lonely, Cisneros became a well-educated person. She had attended the University of Lowa and Loyola University, and she earned a BA in English. After she graduated from school, she did various jobs engaged with the Chicano community, including teaching high school drop outs (75). She also had worked at Local art center, San Antonio, while her main job was lecturing to students.
    

It was through her writing that Cisneros found a voice. Her style is unique compared to other authors around that period. Coming from a special family of men and her different homes, she would write something between poverty and fiction, per her culture and experience. After reading her interviews and articles, we find that she doesn’t create her own character, but most likely writes about real people in her life (Shmoop Editorial Team 4). Essentially, we could say that Cisneros’s writing style is poetic, it is natural, honest, and it’s easy to understand. One of her common ways of writing is using literary elements, such as imagery and metaphor (5). The use of literary element makes her stories more interesting and dynamic. No matter if the reader is an adult or a kid, they all like to read a book full of fun, understandable words. That is why Cisneros’s book is so popular. One of her most popular short stories is “My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn”. It’s a first point of view story about a little girl(Cisneros) who imagined having a close friend called Lucy. In the story, they do everything together and our narrator becomes the character. She is a lonely little girl who lives with her grandma, and her “friend” Lucy who is a cute, funny girl. Cisneros uses dialect in this story (Fruitfanatic 9). Dialect can make readers feel more about her culture and tradition, but also makes this story come alive.


I believe that Cisneros childhood experiences inspired this short story. She demonstrates to us all of her loneliness and dreams in just two pages. When she was a kid, for instance, friendships were rare for her. The environment in which she grew up was empty, and she always thought differently from her peers at school. From this story, readers explore what she really wants: someone, finally, makes her happy. She used “corn” to describe this Lucy friend, because corn is crispy and crunchy, it’s Cisneros writing style to add that into the story, and show the characteristics of our protagonist. So, it is a fantastic story about how a friendship grows between young people, and depicts a friend as an important part of one’s childhood.


It also seem like Cisneros’s unstable childhood really had an impact on her. Words like “foreigner”, and being label not wealthy, stick with her. When she realized her differences from other American authors, she knew that she should write something she really knows (Gross 3). Then, she got inspiration for her most famous coming-age novel, The House on Mango Street, which sold six million copies around the world. She became well-known after that.


Cisneros lived in a such terrible time with full of gender, race, and different treatment on class that she felt she should express these feelings. She wrote things for people, and aw hers work as spirit (Gross 11). She wanted people to understand poverty, and she wanted different genders to gain equal rights. She wants no discrimination among different races, and she also wants people to get more opportunities…That is Cisneros’s biggest influence on her decade and society. Her works made people feel approachable, the reader doesn’t have to be educated in order to read her book, and it is for all classes of people. Another contribution is the diffused culture in that she wrote to demonstrate the life of Latinos. Because of her love of this world and her outstanding literary works, Sandra Cisneros received many awards which people think should belong to her. This includes the National Medal of Arts, the American Book Award, the Dublin International IMPAC Award, and the Frank Dobie Artist fellowship (Sagel 75) … Her personality and her works made her a literally giant in people’s hearts, and she must be very proud of all she accomplished.


Ultimately, I consider all that I’ve read about Cisneros and feel that she is warm, considerate, and produces thoughtful works. I think any reader would love her. She seems like she wrote simple stories according to her experience, but when you finish reading them, you realize they are not that simple, because it makes her feel approachable and the subjects make us happy. Cisneros’s childhood and her identity first gave her the idea for writing and had a strong impact on her literary works. She sees her writing ability as a gift, and uses this gift to make differences in this world.






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