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Runninghead:ONEHOLY NIGHT RESPONSE
One Holy Night: Reader Response
Deanna Sardo
Baker College
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ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE
Abstract
Sandra Cisneros is a Chicano author whose experiences, and observations are explored in...
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ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE
One Holy Night Response
Chaq (Boy Baby) sounds too exaggerated to be too true from the start of ...
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ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE
The “prohibition” was the tacit “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of Chicanos regarding how they se...
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ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE
Conclusion
This story is a sad tale. It does not have a happy ending. The cycle continues with I...
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ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE
References
Cisneros, S. (2004). One holy night. In S. Lynn, Literature: Reading and writing with...
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final copy one holy night

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final copy one holy night

  1. 1. 1 Runninghead:ONEHOLY NIGHT RESPONSE One Holy Night: Reader Response Deanna Sardo Baker College
  2. 2. 2 ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE Abstract Sandra Cisneros is a Chicano author whose experiences, and observations are explored in her writings, such as in the story One Holy Night. The young girl Ixchel follows the same path as her own mother, and she is shamed and punished for the unfortunate mistake she makes. She is an eighth grader seduced by an 37 year old murderer Chaq, he is called Boy Baby. Was her inability to handle the manipulation of this man her fault, or the fault of her Abuelita (grandmother)? It is normal for young girls to wonder about being with a man, but they don’t usually act on it. The story One Holy Night requires the reader to read the clues presented in the story to decipher what is happening, and when the reader understands what is taking place they are left with morally nagging questions of why this happened. The murderer did not kill the young girl, as he did with his previous eleven victims because he hoped she would become pregnant and bring his seed into the world. I could not stop myself from focusing on the circumstances in Ixchel’s life that led her to end up in this place, right in the middle of another desperate cycle. The cultural norm of Chicanos is to not speak about the emotions that come with a developing young girl, they celebrate a girl turning fifteen as becoming a women, but don't teach them what that means, or how to deal with it. This is a story that does not have a happy ending, it is a story that leaves the reader aware of the change that needs to be made in the Chicano community to end these cycles of teenage pregnancy, which leads to single mother homes, and the cycle will continue.
  3. 3. 3 ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE One Holy Night Response Chaq (Boy Baby) sounds too exaggerated to be too true from the start of the story. He said he was a Mayan King. I initially wondered what he was doing with Ixchel the narrator, who turns out to be a thirteen year old Latino girl who lives with her immigrated grandparents, and works pushing a cart of produce that her grandparents grow to sell. The second paragraph, or just five sentences later the narrator informs us that her Abuelita (grandmother) chased Boy Baby away with a broom, burned the pushcart that was a means to finding the shame that sent her miles from home. This confirms my initial suspicion of Boy Baby (who is actually a 37 year old man), and leaves me wanting to know exactly what happened. Chicano The story continues with the grandmother placing blame on the men in her family for not protecting Ixchel. Ixchel justifies her actions by saying she is not a child, and she is not prostituting herself like the females she sees near her home. She describes Boy Baby as a man. She is excited to see him because of the way he looks at her. I’m sure it is in a lustful way, like when disgusting older men look at young girls. She believes he was born into royalty, but he is dirty and greasy, and he lives in the backroom of a shop in town. I am outraged as I read because I don’t know why this young girl is so naïve. It seems that no one especially not her Abuelita has discussed with her what love is, and what feelings of lust are, and how to handle them, nor have they explained to her what kind of boys her age she should talk to, and how to stay far away from an adult man when seeking male attention. "Her “unauthorized desire” is her sexual curiosity, an inevitable biological truth embedded in any girl’s coming of age, yet left unaddressed by any potential mentors--such as her Abuelita--until after there are consequences.
  4. 4. 4 ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE The “prohibition” was the tacit “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy of Chicanos regarding how they set limits, respect, and address the desires of their bodies" (Colleen, 2012, para. 9). Becoming a Women Ixchel feels excited because of the new emotions she feels, but no one has directed her. She does look for her answers with Boy Baby. He takes advantage of her in the worst way, he has sex with her. He immediately leaves town. Ixchel becomes pregnant "Then Abuela made me tell the real story of how the cart had disappeared, all of which I told this time, except for that one night, which I would have to tell anyway, weeks later, when I prayed for the moon of my cycle to come back, but it would not (Cisneros, 2004, pp. 424), and just like her own mother the shame is too much for her grandparents to take, and they send her to live with family in Mexico. If only Ixchel would have been taught about what love really is, and what sex is maybe she would not have made such a big mistake. The Latino way is to not speak of these things, but don’t they see that in a world full of all types of images they must explain these things, or the wrong person will. A Cycle At the end of the story Ixchel is in Mexico with a large family. The older women take care of her because she is pregnant. Sending her away just like they did to her mother did not teach her anything. She still thinks she has experienced what love is, by lying down with a man. The man is not only a child molester, but a murderer as well. The news of his eleven murders isn’t enough for her to not refer to him as “the face I am in love with”(Cisneros, 2004, pg.426). She compares love to an old man breathing in and out into a harmonica “wheezing in and out, in and out, but nothing being played" (Cisneros, 2004, pg.426).
  5. 5. 5 ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE Conclusion This story is a sad tale. It does not have a happy ending. The cycle continues with Ixchel. She is left to figure out how to understand love and sex on her own, just as her mother and countless other Latino girls have had to do. The outcome of this practice is proven to be a tragedy, as it kills the innocence and stifles the future of these young girls. "As an uninformed thirteen year-old, clearly with no guidance given by any parental figure, she has no choice but to narrate as a “loiterer” when it comes to sexuality. It is formed by holes of negative space, not positive knowledge" (Colleen , 2012, para. 10). Ixchel does not even understand what has happened while she prepares to give birth in Mexico. The sad ending of Ixchels comparison to love and the harmonica player leads me to believe that the cycle will continue with Ixchels baby. "Self-empowerment is an appealing motif in Cisneros’s text, but “One Holy Night” certainly does not fit into the typical definition of an empowerment narrative. In this story, Cisneros avoids both empowerment and victimization of her narrator, offering a story that is aware of its own difficulty" (Sills, 2013, pg.9).
  6. 6. 6 ONE HOLY NIGHT RESPONSE References Cisneros, S. (2004). One holy night. In S. Lynn, Literature: Reading and writing with critical strategies (pp. 422-426). New York, NY. Prentice Hall, Inc. Colleen. (2012, March 18). La fe[men]ista in “One Holy Night”. Literature Research Project. Retrieved from: http://209project.blogspot.com/p/colleen.html. Sills, J. (2013). Resisting containment: Relocating subjectivity in Sandra Cisneros’s “One holy night”. Critical Theory and Social Justice / Journal of Undergraduate Research / Occidental College 3(1). Retrieved from: http://scholar.oxy.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1048&context=ctsj

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