Rhetorical Devices In The House On Mango Street

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Powerless
Imagine all limbs turned to stone, unable to move or shout no matter how hard one tries. Powerless. This is life for 12 year old Esperanza as a poor, Hispanic girl. Much like a bad dream where one cannot move, Esperanza has no power or voice; her entire life resembles this nightmare. She is discriminated against, not only for her race, but for her gender and social status as well. Dealing with all this unfair treatment, she is easily taken advantage of, leading to a desperation for a better life. She craves for a “real house” but, due to her family’s poverty, they are forced to move frequently into dingy apartments. In The House on Mango Street, Cisneros’s use of rhetorical devices like imagery, analogies, and motifs, helps to create the text’s longing tone.
The author establishes a contrast between Esperanza’s reality and fantasy through imagery. When her family first moved to Mango Street, Esperanza had high expectations for a “real home,” but she was disappointed to live in a tiny, run-down house. She depicts her current house on Mango Street as “small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you’d think they were holding their breath. Bricks are crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in” (Cisneros 4). The negative description Esperanza gives of her house shows how trapped she feels because she describes the windows as very small.
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Imagery and analogies describe and contrast fantasy versus reality. Also, the reoccurring idea that staring out windows is like looking at everything unattainable. This tone forces the reader to address the on-going problem of racial and gender discrimination because in this book, longing is caused by discrimination and powerlessness. Esperanza is determined to live in a real home, and by doing so she is slowly waking up from a bad dream, relieved that she can move
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