The House On Mango Street Analysis

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Sandra Ciseneros’ The House On Mango Street showcases a theme of confinement specifically towards female characters. Throughout the novel, Esperanza gives naive accounts of the isolated and trapped lives of a select few of her neighbors and friends. This recurring theme in the book is connected to the symbolism presented in liminal spaces, windows, and inside vs. outside. Liminal spaces are places of transitions. These are spaces where one has not taken on what lies ahead but have moved away from the past. “She (Marin) can’t come out - gotta baby-sit with Louie’s sisters - but she stands in the doorway a lot...” (Ciseneros 23, 24). In this context, the doorway is the liminal space. Marin is stuck in this transition point, torn between the curiosity and wonder of adolescence and the responsibilities of adulthood. She dreams of returning to Puerto Rico and marrying her boyfriend, but also of getting a real job in downtown Chicago (Ciseneros 27). This further reinforces the idea that Marin’s life is currently in a liminal space. She has dreams of both her life back home and a future in the new city she moved to. Also, her responsibility of taking care of her cousins is what is most confining. This responsibility was thrusted upon her and she is forced to work to help support her cousins. Marin’s current situation is directly connected to the overarching theme of confinement. Marin is stuck in a transitional period where she dreams of what could be but is fighting an uphill
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