The short story Eleven was written by Sandra Cisneros, within the story a young girl is told by a teacher to wear a sweater that does not belong to her. The young girl, named Rachel explains how the teacher, can tell her what to do because she is younger than the teacher. The sweater represents the concept that our society, puts the idea of conformity and listening to our elders, to the point that we at times have to put up with it. The teacher,Mrs. Price represents the people that makes everybody conform. Sylvia another student, in Mrs. Price class represents the concept that people push too much with their hatred to have it their way, either to bully or to have it their way, but also represent the concept that someone should not think they are better than anyone else.
Cisneros has a history with women getting use to what other people want to do. “She watched as the women around her gave up and gave in, accepting lives of second class citizenship” (contemporary Hispanic Biography). As well as dealing with people pushing her down, because she is a woman first hand, “that her “seven fathers,” meaning her father and six brothers, expected her to conform to appropriate women’s roles. She was to be a caretaker, get married, have children—to be like the other women”(contemporary Hispanic Biography). In the case of Rachel in, the short story Eleven the person that puts her down is Mrs. Price, “Because she’s older and the teacher, she’s right and I’m not”( Cisneros 7), this clearly shows the concept in our society that we must do as we are told to do. Cisneros had seen the kind of behavior pictured in the story eleven, even if she does not like, or believe in the kind of behavior of people telling someone to do something.”If I had lived up to my teachers’ expectations, I’d still be working in a factory.”(contemporary Hispanic Biography) ,even if she does not like, Cisneros can see that this kind of behavior is in our society, along with other people that can see this in everyday life. “When you think about it, it becomes clear that pressures to conform are a universal feature of culture”( How culture make people conform), whatever part of the world someone might live in, people will have to follow a certain way of life. “After all, the very idea of a culture implies that people think, feel, and act similarly—otherwise no common content would exist”(How culture make people conform), if anyone wants to fit in a group of people they have to work with each other, especially if someone wants to fit in society. Beside the point of the adult in the scene ordering Rachel to do something she does not want to, there is also Sylvia figuratively putting the idea that Rachel is less or equal to everybody else.
There are many ways society puts someone to conform, one of these ways is by talking someone down. “Maybe because I’m skinny, maybe because she doesn’t like me, that stupid Sylvia saldivar”( Cisneros 7), it is stated that there is a big possibility that Sylvia does not like Rachel, Rachel states this because Sylvia told Mrs. Price, that the sweater belongs to her. “ ‘I think it belongs to Rachel’ ”(Cisneros 7), it may be a simple mistake, but one of the main things that society does is put people down for being different. “You’re not to think you are anything special” (How culture make people conform), what Sylvia did was push Rachel to think she is not special. According to Rachel the motive is they have a dislike for each other, it seems that Rachel thinks it is because she is skinny. Yet the dislike Sylvia feels for Rachel seems to fit in more than one of the codes listed by How Culture make people conform. “You’re not to convince yourself that you are better than us”( How culture make people conform) most things in society make people to follow a single path, yes there are people with special ability that are cherished, but the majority of people are put down. Since the society we live in wants to best for the majority of the people not for the individual people. “Because humans are social animals who live in groups and have a protracted period of learning the ways of the world, they internalize social norms and folk beliefs, including religion, before it occurs to them to ask critical questions”(How culture make people conform), with our current society people are born with the idea that they should fit, and do the best to put their society, in front of your own happiness. In the example of the short story Eleven, Rachel just wants to go home and celebrate her birthday, with her family. “…and try to remember today I am eleven, eleven. Mama is making a cake for tonight and when Papa comes home everybody will sing Happy birthday, happy birthday to you” (Cisneros 8). With the only thing Rachel making her happy, and holding everything together is the idea that her birthday party. While the pressure of society, making everyone conform to one thing.
Sandra Cisneros wrote the story of eleven, in which a young girl has a altercation in school over a sweater that her teacher makes her wear it. The main topic of the story is the way of thinking how someone gets old. They are quotes within the short story that explains that someone old can still want to cry as if they are three or two years old. The whole story goes over the process of ageing and how someone can still be a little kid. There is another important part in the short story this is with the sweater. The sweater scene might represent the way life makes someone, do something they do not want, while Mrs. Price shows that Rachel must do as she is told and not have it her way. Sylvia also represents the idea that society push people to not think they are special, in the end all Rachel wants is to go home and have a happy life, in which everyone else also wants, to just live their life, yet society makes everyone pick a certain way of life to live. Cisneros knows how it is to feel, trapped by social norms, and their pressure in making everyone conform to one way, which is why it is one of the topics in Eleven. She felt this from her teachers, as well as her own family, telling her to fall in the same roles as other women. This is why it is an important topic, discussed in the short story eleven.
“Cisneros, Sandra: 1954-: Writer.” Contemporary Hispanic Biography. Encyclopedia.com, n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
“How Cultures Make People Conform.” Psychology Today. N.p., n.d. Web. 06 Apr. 2017.
Cisneros, Sandra. Woman hollering creek and other stories. New York: Vintage , 2002. Print.