House of (Writing) Style, February, 2002

Sandra Cisneros's Style in "Barbie-Q"

Analysis of "Barbie-Q" (Use of Tone) By Sandra Cisneros " A.G. '03
Cisneros writing demonstrates the premium archetype of tone. The tone of "Barbie-Q" illustrates urgency and excitement, as it tells the story of a young girl. When pointing out a Barbie in the flea market, she specifies exactly where it is located, painting a picture for the reader: "Lying on the street next to some tool bits, and platform shoes, with the heels all squashed, and a fluorescent green wicker wastebasket, and aluminum foil, and hubcaps, and a pink shag rug, and windshield wiper blades, and dusty mason jars, and a coffee can full of rusty nails." She also demonstrates the girl’s character; in her astute observation of detail, the girl almost seems precocious. Cisneros further explores this when the Barbie is described: "One with the ‘Career Gal’ ensemble, snappy black-and-white business suit, three-quarter-length sleeve jacket with kick-pleat skirt, red sleeveless shell, gloves, pumps, and matching hat included." The reader can see an image at this point, one of a little girl watching the television intently, taking in every word the Mattel commercial aired. The energy and urgency of the girl’s character are furthered portrayed in her begging for the Barbie "Please, please, please, please, please, please, please…" Cisneros’s tone, although childish, effectively portrays the protagonist’s personality.

Imitation of "Barbie-Q" A.G. '03
I love Britney Spears. I saw her on the TV yesterday when I was watching MTV with my babysitter Jamie. She lets me watch MTV, even though Mom thinks that it is a bad channel. Britney is going to be in a movie that is called Crossroads. Maybe she will wear the outfit from the "I’m a Slave 4 U" video, the one where she wears her underwear on the outside of her pants. I tried to go to school like that once, but my mom told me that nobody wanted to see my Wednesday panties on a Friday. I know that she will dance a lot in the movie, because she is a very good dancer. I know all of her dance moves because Jamie taught them to me. I also know all the words to the whole CD with the picture of her in the belly shirt and curly hair, since I got that for my birthday last year when I turned eight. The commercial said that Crossroads is about when Britney goes to California with her three friends, and a guy takes them in his car without a top, like Jamie’s boyfriend’s car. They stay in a very icky hotel and sing in front of everybody when they go to a restaurant. And they also go to the beach. I told Jamie to tell my mom that I want to go to see Crossroads very very very very very very much. I will clean my room. And the kitchen. And take out the trash. Maybe I will make my mom a note so that she will not forget to take me, except that it is rated PG-13, which means that I will have to wait until I am old, maybe even eleven. But that’s okay, because I love Britney, and will do anything to see her movie.

Conclusion: A.G. '03
Style is individual. Style is distinct. Style is the fingerprint of an author. As writing style differs, so do personalities. The way an author writes mirrors their character. Imagine Sally Tisdale, Sandra Cisneros, and Doris Lessing are in attendance at high-class soiree in the penthouse of a sophisticated New Yorker. Tisdale and Cisneros would bond immediately over the hors d'oeuvres, both of them commenting on the preciseness that the chef took to create the food; here they realize their similarity in their love of detail. Cisneros would make lengthy explicit inquires about Tisdale profession, and Tisdale would reply with passionate paradoxes, confusing Cisneros. Perhaps energetic Cisneros would then turn to Lessing, who stands on the edge of the crowd alone, not as a wallflower, but as an observer. Cisneros would try to incorporate Lessing into the conversation, asking playfully if she could translate Tisdale’s responses. Lessing would listen quietly, only responding in one-word answers to the polite, but intelligent questions of Tisdale and Cisneros. The two would discreetly leave Lessing to her observation of the room, sensing a wall Lessing erected. However, Lessing did not create a wall intentionally: minimalism is her style, just as feeling and comparisons are Tisdale’s style, and listing and energy are Cisnero’s. The effortlessness with which hypothetical case can be accepted demonstrates that style does grant the reader an inside view of the personality of the author.

Footnotes: The Photo of Sandra Cisneros is from:

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