Sandra Cisneros in the essay, “Eleven”, demonstrates that experience influences the behavior of a person. Cisneros supports her claim by describing Rachel’s reactions from the incident: Rachel’s speechless moment, Rachel holding back her tears and crying, and Rachel putting on the sweater. It is repeated told, “I’m eleven, ten, nine, eight, seven, six, five, four, three, two, and one,” (lines 76-77) to emphasize the significance of these previous ages. The author’s purpose is to point out that experience changes a person’s thoughts and actions.
As discussed above, Rachel’s speechless moment expresses the theme that a person is made up of all the years inside oneself. Lines 18-21 state, “Today I wish I was one hundred and two instead of eleven because if I was one hundred and two I’d have known how to tell her it wasn’t mine instead of just sitting there with that look on my face and nothing coming out of my mouth.” In this case, Rachel feels that her experience is way less than her teacher and if she had the experience of a one-hundred-and-two-year-old person, she could prove Mrs. Price wrong. According to lines 35-36, Rachel says that since Mrs. Price is older, she is always correct and Rachel is not. This statement verifies that Mrs. Price has more experience, so she is sure to know what is right and what is not. It also shows that if Rachel were to say something controversial to Mrs. Price, Mrs. Price’s voice would be prioritized just because she is older. The repetition of the phrase “I wish I was one hundred and two” (lines 19 and 77) points out once again that Rachel is desperate to become older so such situations would go better.