Themes Involving the Poor Using "Barbie-Q" by Sandra
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A child's world usually revolves around having fun and playing with toys. Before a child enters
school, toys can be anything from a pot and a spoon to something bought at the toy store. After a
child enters school, toys become the defining idea of who "fit's in" and who is left as an outsider. The
better your toys, especially the ones you bring to show and tell, the better your chances of fitting in.
Barbies are often a popular toys for girls. In "Barbie-Q," Sandra Cisneros's theme involving a young,
poor girl demonstrates that poor children will accept slightly damaged popular toys in an attempt to be
Through characterization the young girl introduced becomes a heroine and demonstrates the
excitement from feeling, briefly, as if she fits in. Although the flea market on Maxwell Street is within a
poor neighborhood, the young girl becomes very excited with just the sight of the Mattel boxes. She
states, "On the outside you and me skipping and humming but inside we are doing loopity-loops and
pirouetting." The excitement from buying "Career Gal" and "Sweet Dreams" illustrates the concept of
poor children accepting damaged toys. This excitement and acceptance comes from the feeling of
being just like everyone else and fitting in.
The child's anger at being poor, demonstrated in her play habits, creates a theme. Through
motivated action, action that offers the audience a reason for how the characters behave, Sandra
Cisneros creates a realistic character. The girl's motivated action is the desire to have the Barbie
dolls. While playing with the old dolls, the girl relates a story of two Barbies. This story of the
protagonist's Barbie losing the imaginary Ken doll to another girl's Barbie reveals the child's frustration... Continues...