16 pages 32 minutes read

Sandra Cisneros

Abuelito Who

Fiction | Poem | Adult | Published in 1922

A modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, SuperSummary offers high-quality Study Guides with detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, and more.


Authorial Context

Sandra Cisneros is known for a modern, imagistic writing style characterized by brevity, incomplete sentences, repetition, and uncluttered phrases. The writing’s unusual sparseness creates a descriptive simplicity and clarity that is sharply evocative in its use of imagery. Cisneros uses this technique to articulate the child’s voice and perspective. Her style is greatly influenced by her own experiences growing up in a lower income family with a somewhat chaotic childhood. Later, her experiences as a teacher hearing her student’s stories compelled her to write from the perspective of kids and teens. This is, in part, because the stories they told carried so much weight due to their young age.

Cisneros’s sparse syntax and simple diction work throughout “Abuelito Who” to convey the youth and experience of the speaker. The tone is childlike, but this ingenuousness creates distance between the speaker and the poem’s events, producing an irony. The irony doesn’t buffer the realities presented, but instead underscores the gravity of the experience on a naïve child still figuring out the world.