"Can I Come Out and Play" Aging promotes the loss of childhood and innocence. Little girls go from skinned knees and imaginary friends, to runs in their pantyhose and boyfriends. Sandra Cisneros', "The Monkey Garden", addresses the emotions that occur during this drastic transition through the view of herself as a little girl. This paper will discuss the author's central theme and plot, the background of Cisneros, and the downward spiral of American childhood. The main theme of the story is that the transition from childhood to adolescence is not only uncomfortable, but also painful. This theme is revealed through "The Monkey Garden"'s plot.
First, the freedom of childhood is addressed. As soon as the monkey leaves the garden, the children gain a new playground. Cisneros describes the garden in using great visual description: "There were sunflowers as big as flowers on mars and dizzy bees and bow-tied fruit flies turning somersaults and humming in the air." She even describes the smells of the garden including the "sleepy smell of rotting wood, damp earth and dusty hollyhocks, thick and perfume like the blue-blond hair of the dead." This vivid description of the scenes and aromas of the garden enable the reader to imagine what the garden is like and relate in the readers' mind, their own childhood haven. Next, Cisneros describes the actions and games which take place in the garden along with her own reasons for going there.
These games of jumping "from roof of one car to another and pretend [ing] they were giant mushrooms" addresses the limitless imagination of a child. The children, especially the author, flocked to the safety of the garden in order to have a place to call their own, a place to belong to in a confusing, adult world: "Far away from where our mothers could find us." When this freedom and sense of belonging is stripped from the author, the results are deadly Not in the literal sense of death, but in the death of her childhood. The first situation which reveals to the author the transition of growing up is when she asks herself, "Who was it that said I was getting too old to play the games Who was it that I didn't listen toI wanted to run too fast like the boys, not like Sally who screamed in she got her stockings muddy." This analysis made Cisneros shows her desire to fight the process of aging and maturing by "running" from it. Next, the writer sees her friend Sally playing a game.
But this was a new game which no longer had a sense of freedom and innocence, but possessed a flirtatious and more ""mature" rules: "You can't get the keys back until you kiss us [the boys]" This new game upsets and angers young Cisneros. She is so mad that she "wanted to throw a stick." Cisneros goes to a parental authority in order to somehow salvage a little more time to live as a child. Tito's mother replies to her cry by saying, "What do you want me to do, call the cops" this sarcasm breaks the author, yet still she tries to protect Sally. When her attempts are rejected, she feels ashamed and frustrated. Once again the author paints a distinct picture of a little girl crying in the garden. She uses strong descriptive words which enable the reader to experience her pain and anger: "and cried a long time.
I closed my eyes tight like stars, my face felt hot. Everything inside hiccuped" Finally, the story ends with the Cisneros' desire "to be dead, to turn into the rain, my [Cisneros'] eyes melt into the ground like two black snails." She finally realizes that the garden, along with her childhood did not belong to her anymore.