The House On Mango Street Gender Roles

707 Words3 Pages

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

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