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Maggie's Portfolio

Analyzing a Short Story

Geraldo No Last Name

          In Sandra Cisneros’ short story, “Geraldo No Last Name”, a very informal diction is used to create a tone of a real conversation. This, combined with short, uneven sentence structures gives the story a feeling of confusion, which mimics the actual even in the story. The diction also allows the reader to see the narrator’s point of view.

          The story opens with simple choices of words like “pretty” and “young”. By using simple words, the reader gets the feeling that the narrator is carrying on a normal, everyday conversation. Several affirmations such as “That’s right”, and many different rhetorical questions like “don’t you know?”, “aint it a shame?”, and “what does it matter?” also add to the conversational feeling. The casual and informal tone throughout the short story is directly a result of the carefully chosen words.

           The short and choppy sentence structure of the story not only adds to the conversational tone but also mirrors the actually events in the story. The brief sentences add certain confusion to the story. It makes the story hard to follow, and the reader feels the rough and uneven sentence structure as the story continues. The confusion created by the sentence structures can be considered a parallel to the actual even that Marin goes through in the story. She is faced with the difficult and confusing challenge of explaining to the police and the hospital that she did not know Geraldo and that she only met him at a dance. Thus the sentence structure of the story mimics the actual even in the story.

            The chosen words of the narrator also let the reader see their point of view. The way that the narrator speaks makes the reader get the idea that they are uneducated. The sentences are frequently missing words like the and a. When the narrator says that Geraldo was “Just another brazer…just another wetback” the reader senses that the author is not Mexican and probably has something against Mexicans when they say, “you know the kind.” As shown, diction also plays a role in allowing the reader to see the narrators point-of-view.

             Diction and sentence structure play important parts to create the tone in Sandra Cisneros’ short story, “Geraldo No Last Name”. By using simple non-descriptive words, Cisneros carries on an informal tone. Short sentence structures mirror the actual confusion in the story, and diction allows the readers to see the narrator’s point of view. Thus, diction, whether it is simple or formal, plays an important role in creating the tone of the story.

Copyright (C). 2005. Maggie Escobedo. All Rights Reserved.