Imagine sacrificing your future solely for another person's benefit. Over time, there has been a recurring pattern of women becoming a second priority. Many women are presumed to put others' aspirations before theirs because of traditional and stereotypical female roles or because of controlling male figures. This theme is shown throughout Sandra Cisernos's novel, The House on Mango Street. This book is a collection of vignettes exploring Esperanza's coming-of-age and evolving perspectives on life. Throughout the story, Esperanza witnesses the prevalence of gender roles in her community and the domestic responsibilities that fall on women's shoulders. Sandra Cisneros presents insights into women's actualities by showing the emotional and physical …show more content…
Sally, one of Esperanza's neighborhood friends, is frequently abused by her father. She comes up with excuses for the bruises and scars on her body and claims that he never hits her hard. Esperanza says, "But Sally doesn't tell me about that time he hit her with his hands just like a dog, she said, like if I was an animal" (92). Sally's father abuses and manipulates her each time he witnesses a sign of her development. He doesn't want her to abandon her family as her other sisters did and doesn't want her to interact with any boys. Consequently, Sally has no autonomy in determining her future, giving her father complete power over her. Like Sally, another of Esperanza's neighborhood friends, Rafaela undergoes similar maltreatment. Rafaela's husband prohibits her from leaving their apartment because he fears she'll run away. Rafaela occasionally asks the neighborhood kids to run errands because she's unable to. "Rafaela leans out the window and leans on her elbow and dreams her hair is like Rapunzel's" (79). Sandra Cisernos compares Rafaela to Rapunzel because both women are prisoners hidden from society. Again, for the benefit of another person. While Rafaela is locked away, her husband is out in the world. Rafaela's husband's selfishness and controlling behavior cause her aspirations and future to be disregarded entirely. Sally and Rafaela are exploited and robbed of their futures by a male …show more content…
One of Esperanza's friends, Marin, longs to escape her circumstances under her family's strict directives. Marin spends most of her time babysitting her younger relatives while yearning to create a better life for herself. "Marin under the streetlight, dancing by herself, is singing the same song somewhere. I know. Is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life" (27). Marin was appointed as a caretaker because of her gender, and her future was overlooked in the process. Marin desires to live independently, but her family dictates her life by giving her domestic responsibilities. She is essentially working for her family, with a complete loss of freedom. Like Marin, Alicia is also confined to her commitments and deprived of her future. Alicia’s mother passed away, and as a result, Alicia had to adopt all of her mother's responsibilities. "Alicia, whose mama died, is sorry there is no one older to rise to make the lunchbox tortillas. Alicia, who inherited her mama's rolling pin and sleepiness, is young and smart and studies for the first time at the university" (31). Once again, the caretaking duty falls on the female in the family. Instead of Alicia's father bearing that responsibility, he puts it upon his daughter's shoulders. By removing the burden from her father, she can only partially devote her time to her education. Marin and Alicia are two of many young girls on Mango
Esperanza's home is a source of both pain and joy for her. On the one hand, she is reminded of the struggles of her family, such as poverty and lack of ownership of their home. On the other hand, it is a place of security and comfort for her, as it is a place to turn to when she needs a place to belong. The house on Mango Street serves as a symbol for Esperanza's journey of self-discovery. It is the place where she is able to explore her identity and find her own voice.
The debilitating impacts of her poverty prompt her to become like a tree “who grew despite concrete.” (75) She realizes then that despite the constant adversity she faces and her home that “even the raggedy men are ashamed to go into” (45), she learns vicariously through the women in her life that she doesn’t want to “inherit her (grandmother’s) place by the window.” (11) At this point Esperanza has realized that she must pave her own way out of Mango Street and has finally come to terms with her place in society.
Rafaela’s husband locks her inside their house, and she is not allowed outside. Rafaela is constantly looking out her window and dreaming of leaving her house. Cisneros states, “Rafaela leans out the window and leans on her elbow and dreams her hair is like Rapunzel’s” (Cisneros 79). The children on Mango
Marin’s attitude towards her future has been indirectly set on her by the patriarchy. Because she has heard so many times that she is expected to be picked by a man and not choose one, she has internalized this fact and sits outside waiting for someone to come. Therefore, she no longer has the motivation to pursue a bright future and therefore is unable to build one. Another instance of objectification is seen through Esperanza’s Aunt Lupe. Shortly before her death, Esperanza recalls, “We didn’t know.
This is due to the common . Before even getting to know the other women, Esperanza already knows that she does not want to ‘inherit her place by the window’. Her observations of the other women paint a more vivid picture of what she had learnt about her grandma, hardening her resolve that she does not wish to end up like them. Esperanza befriends Sally, who is beautiful and popular, and is
Showing itself in sexism, misogyny, and overall oppression expressed to women, enabled through the patriarchy, gender inequality has long been part of the history of the world. Several instances of gender inequality towards women are presented in Sandra Cisneros’ novella, The House on Mango Street; a bildungsroman conveyed through a series of vignettes and told by the character of Esperanza, a Mexican-American girl. Throughout the novella, Esperanza is struggling to form her identity while living in an impoverished neighborhood and surrounded by unfortunate cases. In the novella, Cisneros depicts how women are denied freedom due to the damaging effects of both traditional gender roles and societal expectations because the roles they are forced
This shows how the author Sandra Cisneros connects to the theme by making Esperanza meet two different people, and they show how they accept her. This is an experience that Esperanza has that eventually leads to her becoming good friends with Rachel and Lucy. She ends up having lots of fun with them just because of the experience of them not laughing at her name. This also shows a moment where Esperanza is growing up because she is realizing that life is not all boring and can be fun as well.
In her novel The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros illustrates the hardships women face, but also explores their power to overcome them through the female role models in Esperanza’s life. The House on Mango Street is set in the 1960’s in Chicago. In this time in history women were suppressed and did not have as equal treatment as they do today. Women were seen as just the people who take care of the children but in this novel Esperanza suggests that she wants to be more than that and be something important in her life.
Alicia, one of Esperanza’s many neighbors, is trying to do that very same thing. “Alicia, who inherited her mama’s rolling pin and sleepiness, is young and smart and studies for the first time at the university.” (Cisneros, 31) Alicia is forced to assume her mother’s role after she passes away, however, she is also trying to graduate from college. However, it is also implied that Alicia’s father is abusive, or possibly unsupportive, because Esperanza notes that “[Alicia] Is afraid of nothing except four-legged fur. And fathers.”
Esperanza is often humiliated not only by where she lives, but also by her physical appearance, hence causing a restriction in her climb to a higher social class. Esperanza is frequently ashamed of her family’s broken-down house in an urban, poor
She suffers domestic abuse from her husband and is even “afraid to go outside without his permission” (Cisneros 102). Through this relationship, Sally was hoping to escape her past hardships, only to find herself in the same position. This is devastating for Esperanza to witness, as she learns that there is no true escape from the past. She also observes
Just like that, as if she were a fancy chandelier” (Cisneros 10-11). Afterwards, Esperanza goes on explaining that her great-grandmother never forgave her great-grandfather because, “She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow” (Cisneros 11). These stories are very meaningful in describing the era and society in which Esperanza lives in. According to Esperanza’s description of her two brothers’ roles in society, it clearly shows how the men are supposed to be the strong and empowering people. Men can do anything they desire.
Seeing not only her mother but her female friends and family members regret their choices, Esperanza is deeply affected and succeeds on making changes that allow her a better life. Esperanza realizes that what other females in her life regret the most is their lack of independence. She summarizes her thoughts of her own independence when she states what she wants, “Not a man’s house. Not a daddy’s. A house all my own.
The male-dominated society that Esperanza grows up in forces the idea that women are weak and should stay locked in their houses while men go off to work. The men are immoral and seedy, as expressed in the chapter in which a homeless man leers and asks for a kiss from the little girls. Esperanza experiences the evil of her community when she is sexually assaulted, causing her to lose her previous desire to explore her sexuality. Before being assaulted, she wanted to be “beautiful and cruel” like her friend Sally, because Sally was what she understood to be a perfect woman. However, after her rape she decides that she needs to discover her own identity for herself.