Monkey Garden By Cisneros
"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 perfumy 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 to?...I 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.