What Is the Climax to the Story “Eleven” by Sandra Cisneros?

The climax in the story, “Eleven,” by Sandra Cisneros is when the main character, Rachel, puts on the raggedy old red sweater. All of the pent-up feelings Rachel has experienced up to this point must work themselves out one way or another.

The climax of a story is its turning point. All the action of the story has been building to the climax, the one moment when something must happen and some resolution must take place. In “Eleven,” it is Rachel’s 11th birthday, but she does not feel 11 yet. In fact, through most of the story, she feels more like a small child. She is sitting in class when the teacher drags out an old red sweater in poor condition and asks the class to whom it belongs. One of the girls says it belongs to Rachel. Even though it does not, Rachel in this particular moment feels too young and helpless to deny it. The teacher gives Rachel the sweater. She feels shamed and wants to cry as she pushes the sweater closer and closer to the edge of her desk. She keeps thinking about home and the preparations for her birthday. Finally, the teacher insists Rachel put on the sweater. Because the teacher is an adult, she must be right, and Rachel must do what she says. She puts it on and starts to cry. Strangely enough, another child claims the sweater at this point. Rachel wishes she were older and better equipped to handle the situation.