Critical Analysis: Barbie-Q by Sandra Cisneros

Published: 2021-08-17
554 words
3 pages
5 min to read
University of Richmond
Type of paper: 
Critical thinking
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The short story, Barbie-Q, by Sandra Cisneros is an extraordinary piece of literature which documents a childs simple desires and lifestyle. Cisneros main objective is to make the reader understand the societys perception of women through the theme of identity. In my opinion, besides this topic, the theme of poverty is also evident in the story. It is apparent when the girls shop at the flea market as opposed to some fancy shopping mall. It is evident that the narrator hails from a poor neighborhood as evidenced by the goods displayed in the market: and dusty mason jarscoffee can full of rusty nails. This paper critically analyzes the story by summarizing and examining its strengths and vulnerabilities.

The story is set at the flea market, and the main characters are the two young girls. Cisneros vividly describes the little girls obsession over the Barbie dolls despite their (Barbie) flaws. She explains that were it not for a sale, the girls would not have acquired the dolls since their parents could not afford to buy these for them. The reader furnished with a detailed description of the physical appearances of each of the dolls and the author centers on the reasons that validate the appropriateness of these dolls. The author effectively communicates her message through the theme of identity. She indicates that the society identifies the ideal woman as being perfect. Accordingly, women should have long hair, a nice body, and stylish clothes. Ironically, the little girls are contented with the charred, waterlogged dolls to the point of excitement. One expects the girls to derive pleasure in brand new and unflawed dolls, but they make do and identify with what they can afford as illustrated in the line We have to make do with your mean-eyed Barbie

I like that the author chose first-person narration to detail the girls experiences. It makes the reader relate to the story because at some point during ones childhood they desired a toy that was out of their reach and probably had to use that which was available. However, the story is more character driven than plot-driven. The author does not stick to the mainstream exposition, escalating action, climax, falling action, and resolution plot structure. Instead, the exposition and climax are briefly invoked as evidenced when the reader is introduced to two little girls desire to possess Barbie dolls and the consequent acquisition respectively.

The book is well-written as the choice of words are befitting to a little girl. For example, the repetition of the word please in the third paragraph is a typical example of the mode of persuasion among young children. Cisneros, through this story, reminds the readers of the existence of individuals that are living in abject poverty. Despite their economic circumstance, they are contented with that which is within their reach.

Summarily, the theme of poverty dominates the short story and results in the subject of identity. Since the girls have inadequate funds to buy new Barbie dolls, they settle for burnt Barbie dolls from the flea market. The use of first-person narration enables a reader to relate the characters experiences to their childhood memories. However, the plot is not well developed with a bland climax. To find out more about the theme of poverty and identity, read from Sandra Cisneros Barbie-Q with an open mind.

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