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Sandra Cisneros and Sherman Alexie

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Anyone can do anything that they put their minds to despite society’s view on cultural beliefs. At least that’s what I believe. Only a few, however, break out of the conventional norm that their families or others perceive of them. Two Authors, Sandra Cisneros, in her autobiography “Only Daughter”, and Sherman Alexie in his autobiography “Superman and Me”, would prove that regardless of cultural or family beliefs anything is possible. Sandra and Sherman shared something in common, they both loved and looked up to their fathers. Both Sandra and Sherman loved to read. However, Sherman’ father was an avid reader whereas Sandra’s father wasn’t. In addition, Sandra grew up in a Mexican family where daughters grew up and married off. On the other hand, Sherman grew up on an Indian Reservation where little or nothing was expected out of the people. Both Sandra and Sherman understood their parent’s cultural ignorance and would prevail to change not only society’s, but most importantly their family’s perspective.

Sandra Cisneros was born into a big family consisting of seven children, six boys and she being the only girl. Sandra knew being Mexican and an only daughter wasn’t anything spectacular as she wrote “Being an only daughter for my father meant my destiny would lead me to become somebody’s wife”. Sandra had a lot to prove not only to her family, but also her father. Marriage was never part of her agenda. In fact, Sandra wanted to go to school and pursue writing. “In retrospect, I’m lucky my father believed daughters were meant for husbands. It meant it didn’t matter that I majored in something silly like English”.

Sandra was always seeking her father’s support with her dreams and aspirations. She wrote, “ In a sense, everything I have ever written has been for him, to win his approval even though I know my father can’t read English”. Sandra’s writing started getting recognition and one of her books would be translated into Spanish. After all the years of hard work Sandra could finally present her father with her translated masterpiece, “I sat on the bed next to my father and waited. He read it very slowly. As if he were reading each line over and over” as though he was absorbing each word. Sandra finally felt complete in her expedition, she was able to win her father’s approval. Sandra Cisneros went on to be an impeccable writer and renowned author.

Sherman Alexie too came from a big family, five children all together. Sherman absolutely idolized his father who had a passion for reading. Sherman wrote “My father loved books, and since I loved my father with an aching devotion, I decided to love books as well”. However, being an Indian boy living on an Indian Reservation meant Sherman had quite a journey ahead: he wrote “As Indian children we were expected to fail in the non-Indian world”. Sherman knew that he wasn’t the average Indian boy “If he’d been anything but an Indian boy living on the reservation, he might have been called a prodigy… we were Indian children who were expected to be stupid.” He wasn’t going to allow anyone, mainly the community, view him as unintelligent or a failure he wrote” I refused to fail. I was smart. I was arrogant. I was lucky”. Sherman would surpass everyone’s assumption and would not only become an author writing numerous books, but also an English Professor.

Despite Sherman and Sandra’s upbringing they proved that anything can be accomplished. They both had a program and executed what they were destined for. Can we do anything we put our minds too? Based on Sherman and Sandra lives I would have to agree. It’s not “It is what it is” it’s “It is what you make it”. They showed society and their families that cultural barriers can be broken and recreated from predictable to unpredictable. Sandra and Sherman demonstrated that anyone can do anything that they put their minds to.

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