Poet Maya Angelo aptly stated, "I am convinced that most people do not grow up. We carry accumulation of years in our bodies, and on our faces, but generally our real selves, the children inside, are innocent and shy as magnolias." Similarly, an American writer Sandra Cisneros in her story "Eleven" shows the enigmatic journey of growing up through the eyes of an eleven year old child. This story first appeared in 1991 collection Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories. "Eleven" is a brief narrative of only a few pages, nevertheless it is wonderful and with great sense. Written in the first person, the story describes the experience of a young girl named Rachel in school on her eleventh birthday.
The story opens with Rachel's reflection on the nature of time as she thinks about her own birthday. She says that people contain all of the ages they have ever been, and that sometimes younger age of oneself appear. For example, when someone is very hurt and wants to cry, he cries as if he were three years old. She even believes that everyone may feel like a three-year-old. She also observes that the change from one age to the next does not occur overnight; a person does not go to bed one night as a ten-year-old and wake up the next day eleven. Rather, it takes some getting used to, and it might take several months or almost a year before a person really feels like he or she is eleven years old.
The reason that Rachel analyzes the age is because, on her birthday, she wishes she were one hundred and two, not eleven. An incident with her teacher, Mrs. Price, has deeply wounded Rachel. It happened so that Mrs. Price held up an ugly red sweater in front of the class and wanted to know who owned it, she was clearly annoyed with the person who has left the sweater in the cloakroom for so long. After all the rest of the students denied ownership, Mrs. Price listened to a student who said that it had belonged to Rachel.