Conflict In A House On Mango Street

743 Words3 Pages
The conflicts that individuals face within a community’s cultural beliefs shape the people they become. The cultural beliefs of the 1960’s were strong, especially for Esperanza, the protagonist in Sandra Cisneros’s story, A House on Mango Street. The series of vignettes follows Esperanza, a Mexican American growing up in Chicago in the 1960’s, and the conflicts she faces with society. Esperanza’s experience with her society produce a strong, persistant young woman who is determined to live an independent life free of what is expected of her.
As Esperanza continues to meet new people in her community, an apparent pattern recurs for the placement of girls and women in the society. Alicia, one of Esperanza’s neighbors, “whose mama died” (31)
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Esperanza’s grandmother was born in “the Chinese year of the horse” (10), which was unlucky because “the Chinese, like the Mexicans, didn’t like their women strong” (10). Her grandmother wanted to be an independant woman, so she didn’t marry. In the end, her father “threw a sack over her head and carried her off”(11), just so that she could be like all the other women and have to “look out the window her whole life”(11). The more scenarios that Esperanza experiences with women feeling overpowered by the men, the more Esperanza feels she needs to be independent. Although she inherited her grandmother’s name, she didn’t want “to inherit her place by the window” (11). Sally’s representation of society only added to Esperanza’s suspicions that many girls grow up to be under the control of somebody else. Sally was just like any other girl in the community, and Esperanza tried to understand the logic behind her actions. “When the others [boys] ran, [she] wanted to to run too...not like Sally who screamed if she got her stockings muddy.” (96). When Sally was trading kisses with some boys in order to get her keys back, Esperanza thought that “Sally needed to be saved” (97), howeever, didn’t realize that Sally wanted to be with the boys. Esperanza “felt stupid with [her] brick” and “[felt] ashamed”
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