16 pages 32 minutes read

Sandra Cisneros

Abuelito Who

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1922

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Poem Analysis

Analysis: “Abuelito Who”

“Abuelito Who” presents associations filtered through the lens of a child’s mind. The speaker shifts back and forth between memories and the present day, between personal items and other objects. The unadorned diction creates a childlike tone: the use of brevity, incomplete sentences, repetition, and simple phrases uncluttered by modifying clauses reinforces a sense of the speaker’s naïveté and youth. The 23-line poem is one long, run-on sentence with no punctuation aside from the single question mark at the very end. Each line builds upon the character of Abuelito.

Abuelito doesn’t particularly care about money. He prefers to make wishes with his spare change. The idea that he “throws coins like rain” (Line 1) demonstrates that he treats money as if it is something that falls from the sky. Instead, he is concerned with love. It is the first and last feature that comes to mind when the speaker thinks of him, described in the second line as well as the last two, “asking who loves him / who loves him who?” (Lines 22-23). He often asks who loves him, desiring to hear it reaffirmed as much as possible, which helps the reader better understand this man.