My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn, Sandra Cisneros: Summary & Analysis

'My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn' is the opening story in Sandra Cisneros' collection, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories, published in 1991. The story is narrated by a young girl who describes her friendship with Lucy Anguiano, a Texas girl. The narrator becomes fascinated with Lucy's home life and envies her close-knit family, particularly her relationship with her sisters.

'My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn': Plot Summary

The story is narrated by a young girl who introduces her friend, Lucy Anguiano. The narrator describes Lucy's distinct smell, reminiscent of corn or tortilla chips, which the narrator finds intriguing. Both girls are of school age and share conversations and activities together.

The narrator recounts Lucy's revelation that she once ate dog food and even demonstrated it by opening her mouth. Lucy and her family have dark skin and thin eyes, resembling "knife slits." The narrator admires Lucy's appearance and wishes to tan her own skin to match Lucy's darkness.

The story explores Lucy's family life, including their rundown house in need of repairs and the fact that Lucy has eight sisters. Lucy often assists her mother with laundry, and the sisters share clothes. The narrator reveals that Lucy once got her arm caught in the wringer washer her mother was using.

Comparison of Living Situations

By contrast, the narrator implies that she is an only child staying with her grandmother, referred to as "Abuelita." She sleeps alone in a fold-out chair in the living room. The narrator envies Lucy's experience of sharing a bed with her sisters and looks forward to engaging in playful activities together.

The narrator anticipates combing Lucy's hair, scratching her mosquito bites, and somersaulting on Lucy's front porch rail, even if it means revealing her underwear. The story emphasizes the differences in their living arrangements, highlighting the narrator's longing for the sense of closeness and companionship that Lucy enjoys within her large family.

Yearning for Sisterhood

The narrator's admiration for Lucy's family stems from her desire for a sisterly bond. The absence of sisters in her own life intensifies her longing to be a part of Lucy's family dynamics. The narrator envisions a deeper connection, expressing her wish that she and Lucy can become like sisters to each other.

This yearning for sisterhood reveals the narrator's yearning for a sense of belonging and companionship. The story delves into the universal theme of human longing for meaningful connections and relationships, particularly within the framework of family.

'My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn': Analysis

'My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn' serves as the opening story in Sandra Cisneros' collection, Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. Like several other stories in the collection, such as 'Eleven,' this story is narrated by a young girl. The narrative focuses more on character exploration rather than a traditional plot.

Joy and Subtle Sadness

The narrative balances joy and underlying sadness. While the narrator primarily celebrates Lucy and their close friendship, a tinge of sadness lingers on the story's edges. It becomes evident that the narrator admires Lucy and her life due to her envy of Lucy's large family, particularly her sisters.

The narrator doesn't just want to spend time with Lucy; she desires to become Lucy herself. This desire is illustrated by her wish to tan her skin to match Lucy's darkness and her yearning for a sister-like bond. The narrator's own home life is implied to be different from Lucy's, suggesting potential volatility or instability.

Celebration of Friendship and Unacknowledged Similarities

'My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn' primarily celebrates the power of friendship. Although the narrator lacks sisters, unlike Lucy, she considers Lucy herself as a kind of sister. They engage in sisterly activities, share common experiences, and spend a significant amount of time together.

It is noteworthy that Lucy's family does not appear to be wealthy. The narrator doesn't envy material possessions or wealth; instead, she longs for the sense of sisterhood that Lucy's large family provides—an experience the narrator lacks.

Reflection on Personal Circumstances

The story also subtly highlights the challenges in recognizing the value of one's own circumstances. The narrator's lack of self-awareness prevents her from appreciating the existing connections she shares with Lucy. The story invites reflection on the human tendency to desire what others have and overlook the blessings that already surround us.

Through the narrator's journey of longing and admiration, 'My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn' offers insights into the universal human experiences of friendship, sisterhood, and the quest for belonging. Cisneros' poignant portrayal of these themes resonates with readers, provoking introspection and appreciation for the meaningful relationships in our own lives.

With its relatable characters and exploration of childhood emotions, the story captures the complexities of human connection and the significance of shared experiences. 'My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn' sets the stage for the rest of the collection, establishing the underlying themes of longing, belonging, and the exploration of personal and familial dynamics that resonate throughout Cisneros' work.

In conclusion, 'My Lucy Friend Who Smells Like Corn' stands as a poignant portrayal of friendship, longing, and the universal search for connection. Through the narrator's lens, readers witness the power of relationships, the impact of longing for what others possess, and the importance of recognizing the value in our own circumstances. Cisneros' skillful storytelling invites readers to reflect on their own experiences and appreciate the bonds that shape their lives.

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