Gender In The House On Mango Street

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The House On Mango Street (1984) by Sandra Cisneros is a coming of age tale of a Mexican-American girl named Esperanza living in a fictional poor neighborhood in Chicago called Mango Street, where she is confronted by various forms of oppression that depict Chicano culture and define the woman’s role in a Latino society. Thus Cisneros’ use of Esperanza as the protagonist allows the reader to understand that the same forces of oppression that ensnare Esperanza to Mango Street is what encourages her to have the desire to leave Mango Street. Therefore, Esperanza becomes a symbolic entity that explores themes such as tradition, gender roles and femininity to show oppressed women in Latino culture. Esperanza’s observations permit the reader to…show more content…
She uses her brothers as an example, which she says “they’ve got plenty to say to me and Nenny inside the house. But outside they can’t be seen talking to girls” (8). In other words, her brothers are being hypocritical in a sense that they would not talk to Esperanza and her sister in public but behind closed doors they speak to them. Hence, Esperanza is forced to socialize with Nenny. She observes that Carlos and Kiki, her brothers, are each other’s best friend. As for her and her sister’s relationship, Esperanza must assume responsibility as the big sister and takes care of Nenny. Esperanza laments her role as the protector of Nenny but she accepts her role. Esperanza states, “you don't pick your sisters, you just get them and sometimes they come like Nenny” (8). Esperanza uses a little humor to mask her true feelings and desires; however, Esperanza feels displaced in her own family and in hopes to stop being displaced she desires a friend, to be more specific, a best friend that she can tell secrets to or understand her jokes without any explanation. This feeling of displacement leads her to compare herself to a red balloon that is “tied to an anchor” (9)
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