ENGL 101

Only Daughter

Home ] Syllabus ] Standard Policies ] Schedules ] Reading Guides ] Journal Instructions ] Essay Assignments ]

updated 8-24-03

Sandra Cisneros                                                    "Only Daughter"                                    p. 84 in Patterns

"He meant siete hijos, seven children, but he translated it as "sons."

  1. Cisneros’ thesis is that being the only daughter of a working-class Mexican father and Mexican-American mother “had everything to do with who I am today.”  Write a brief list of her supporting points that prove this to be true.
  1. From information in the essay, name one
    1. advantage of being a daughter instead of a son.
    2. disadvantage of being a daughter instead of a son.
  1. What does Sandra Cisneros mean by her statement, “I was/am the only daughter and only a daughter” (par. 3)?
  1. How does Cisneros’ father’s common statement “I have seven sons” make her feel?
  1. Mr. Cisneros believed that education was very important.
    1. Why was it important for his sons?
    2. Why was it important for his daughter?
  1. In paragraph 2, Cisneros adds details to her self-description of being one daughter among six sons.  Name one of the details. Do you think this additional information is necessary—why or why not?


Sandra Cisneros is a highly-respected Hispanic author and she credits her writing to her drive to please her father, which wasn’t easy. The following questions are tied to this issue of writing.

  1. What kinds of things did the author’s father like to read?
  1. What does she mean when she says her father “represents . . .  the public majority uninterested in reading”? Why does she say that it is this audience she is writing for?
  1. Name three things that happened in the “last year, after ten years of writing professionally” that made it clear Cisneros is a success?
  1. What was the most wonderful thing that happened the year of her story?
  1. Where did this essay originally appear? Who is the audience for that magazine? Do you think this was an appropriate essay for that magazine’s audience? Why or why not?
  1. What is an anthology (par. 1)?



[UNM-Los Alamos Home Page]    [ Classes Home Page]