By: Judith Ortiz Cofer
When people look back at their lives, they see how fast it may seem that life goes by. People reflect on the day that their children were born, their children’s first words, steps and the first time they learned to ride a bicycle. Even though the years of a child fly by fast, it causes parents to realize how special times are during their children’s lives and how they should be cherished. In the poem entitled, “Quinceranera”, the view of the poem is from the eyes of a child.
The poem’s speaker is in fact a young girl who has reached her fifteenth birthday. She is from Latin decent because of the fact that a quinceanera is celebrated by their culture like a ‘sweet sixteen’. This is celebrated as though the child is maturing into a woman. In the poem, the speaker speaks of how her “...dolls have been put away like dead children in a chest I will carry with me when I marry” (pg. 859 stanza 1-3). Throughout the poem the girl reflects on how she feels like she’s maturing by different things in her life. She mentions how her hair is different, “...My hair has been nailed back with my mother’s black hairpins to my skull” (pg. 859 stanza 6-8). The girl in the poem realizes that she is in fact growing into a ‘woman’ but has negative views regarding her aging.
The poem contains many similes and metaphors throughout the poem. One in particular is in a line that was mentioned earlier regarding the speaker’s dolls.
“…dolls have been put away like dead children in a chest I will carry with me….” (pg. 859 stanza 1, 2).
The speaker characterizes the dolls as being like dead children because of the fact that they are supposed to be put away as though they are to be forgotten about.
The speaker then explains her dress that she is to wear to her party, “I reach under my skirt to feel a satin slip bought for this day. It is soft as the inside of my thighs”, (pg 859 stanza 4-6).
The speaker uses the simile to...