House on Mango Street

“Never Marry a Mexican”: Theme Analysis & Summary

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

Sandra Cisneros’s women reflect the Mexican immigrant’s struggle to assimilate the parts of themselves that negative cultural stereotypes have taught them to hate. “Never Marry a Mexican” analysis shall be provided in this paper.

How It Began

In 1954 author Sandra Cisneros was born in a low-income family of seven children, based in Chicago, Illinois. Her mother was Mexican American, and her father, a full Mexican. Cisneros grew up the only girl among six brothers and has described this experience as “being similar to having seven fathers” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001).

As a child, Cisneros was shuttled back and forth between a sequence of dingy apartments in Chicago and her grandmother’s homestead located in Mexico City. This experience, the “concept of home or the lack of one,” tends to factor continually in Sandra Cisneros’s works of fiction in line with negative Mexican stereotypes (Yudin & Kanoza 2001). Sandra Cisneros’ biography contains information about her environment that greatly influenced her works later on.

The combined effect of a nomadic lifestyle, plus the social isolation of a constantly revolving cycle of friends, schools, “her brothers’ unwillingness to let a girl join in their play” naturally turned the young Cisneros to an inner life populated by books. It was this solitary, reflective time that generated Cisneros’ “observant, creative voice” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001)

In 1974 Cisneros took a creative writing class in Chicago at the Loyola University campus, where she later completed her bachelor of arts undergraduate degree in English (Yudin & Kanoza 2001). She then went on to the University of Iowa’s Writers’ Workshop and got a Master of Fine Arts degree, followed by the 1991 publication of short stories, including “Never Marry a Mexican,” in Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories collection that is the subject of this review (Yudin & Kanoza 2001).

Sandra Cisneros: “Never Marry a Mexican” History of Creation

When Random House accepted Cisneros’s second book of short fiction, Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories, for publication, this represented “the first work by and about Chicanas — that is, Mexican American women — to receive a contract with a major publishing house” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001).

Sandra Cisneros has also received numerous writing awards for her fiction, including the Before Columbus American Book Award and the PEN Center West Award for The House on Mango Street, a collection of short stories (Yudin & Kanoza 2001). Cisneros also received two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Creative Writers, a Dobie-Paisano Fellowship, and a MacArthur Fellowship (Yudin & Kanoza 2001). Her anthology of poems, Loose Woman, achieved recognition and won the Mountain & Plains Booksellers’ Award a year after the publication date (Mountain & Plains Independent Booksellers Association).

Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories, according to Cisneros, contains a “single, unifying thread of vision and experience that runs throughout the collection of twenty-two narratives” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001). This vision provides a decidedly female perspective on sex, culture, and racism. Woman Hollering Creek features Mexican American female characters, such as La Malinche, that all live in or near the border town of San Antonio, Texas (Cisneros 1991).

On the whole the stories, “Never Marry a Mexican” and “Bien Pretty” in particular concern women of divided loyalty – they have successfully “assimilated into American culture,” yet feel an oblique longing for their home country of Mexico (Palmisano 2004). Cisneros’s women exist in an in-between state. The third section of the book is the largest and investigates the trials and tribulations of adult Hispanic females attempting to find their place amid “familial and cultural pressures as well as traditional gender roles” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001).

Long Way to the Insight

The protagonist of the title story is Cleófilas, a Mexican bride, unfortunately, wed to a brutish and violent man who lives over the border in Texas (Cisneros 1991). Cleófilas, a soap opera addict, pines away fantasizing about the passion she witnesses in the television soap operas she and her girlfriend’s watch, and understands her fantasy has finally been fulfilled with the arrival of Juan Pedro, who wishes to marry immediately “without a long engagement since he can’t take off too much time from work” (Cisneros 1991).

Juan Pedro sweeps Cleófilas away to the border town of Seguin, Texas, a town “built so that you have to depend on husbands” (Cisneros 1991). Cleófilas still understands her life in terms of the soap opera fantasy, “only now the episodes got sadder and sadder. And there were no commercials in between for comic relief” (Cisneros 1991).

When Cleófilas finally escapes the marriage after countless beatings, Juan Pedro’s unmitigated unfaithfulness, and disgraceful treatment, she goes back to her father’s house in Mexico. Here she exchanges one domineering male force for another – her father (Cisneros 1991).

In the climax scene, on her way back to her father’s home, however, Cleófilas catches a faint glimmer of what it is to be a free woman, beholden to none. When they travel across the Woman Hollering Creek, and her female driver lets out a bellow that makes her and her son jump (Cisneros 1991).

“Never Marry a Mexican”: Summary

The author’s experience growing up in a house full of men appears to have colored her opinion of them – the men in Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories are all of a certain ilk: brutal, overbearing, insensitive, riddled with machismo, highly sexual and incapable of marital fidelity.

The use of sex to soothe, control, and escape is a common theme that runs throughout the collection and finds its home in the piece of literature “Never Marry a Mexican,” which concerns a young Hispanic woman named Clemencia (Cisneros 1991). As a protagonist, Clemencia is simultaneously entertaining and disturbing: a union of opposites.

She spurns marriage and men and says, “I’ll never marry. Not any man. I’ve known men too intimately. I’ve witnessed their infidelities, and I’ve helped them to it. Unzipped and unhooked in clandestine maneuvers. I’ve been accomplice, committed premeditated crimes.

I’m guilty of having caused deliberate pain to other women. I’m vindictive and cruel, and I’m capable of anything” (Cisneros 1991). Cisneros appears to be aware of it, and in essence, encourages Clemencia’s sexual autonomy. Yet, the action of the story tells the reader that Cisneros views the power as somewhat cheap, in that it “rises from a misuse of sexuality and is a dangerous result of women recapitulating the mistakes of men” (Thomson 1994).

Clemencia expresses nothing more than contempt for her American boyfriend, though the reader senses that her negative feelings “are fueled by her emerging sense of inadequacy and guilt resulting from her inability to speak Spanish” (Palmisano 2004).

Negative Mexican Stereotypes and Consequences

Like many of women in Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories, Clemencia personifies the Mexican American quandary, the cultural no man’s land afforded “Chicanas who must confront daily the triple bind of not being considered Mexican, not being considered American, and not being male” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001).

In Clemencia’s case, though her voice appears rebellious, her actions are ultimately self-destructive. “Never Marry a Mexican,” irony refers to some advice Clemencia received from her mother when she was a young girl (Cisneros 1991).

Her mother openly regretted marrying her father, and her attempt to shield her daughter from her own mistakes “ultimately consign Clemencia to cultural and social marginality” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001). Clemencia refuses to date the low-income Latinos she comes into contact with in her daily life, preferring the companionship of married white men (Cisneros 1991).

Ironically, the white men whom she has sex with received the same advice from their mothers – they will gladly bed a Mexican American woman clandestinely, behind closed doors. Still, they will never legitimize their relationship by marrying her, for the simple fact that a wife must be of the same race (Cisneros 1991). Clemencia “does allow herself to fall into a relationship after relationship with unavailable men – always married, and always white” (Fitts 2002).

Never Marry a Mexican: Analysis

One of the “Never Marry a Mexican” themes stated is negative Mexican stereotypes and their influence on heroine’s relationships. Her choice in men betrays the lack of self-worth at her core. Sandwiched between two cultures, neither of which will claim her, Clemencia turns resentful (Cisneros 1991). Like the males she despises and yet envies, Clemencia “takes lovers easily and leaves them quickly; she uses sex as power, as a weapon. She goes to bed with a man while his wife is giving birth to their child and then, years later, sleeps with that same child.

Her sexual conquests, like those of her stereotypical Don Juan counterparts, are attempts at control: she wants dominion over her lovers without giving up any of her own authority” (Thomson 1994). As a protagonist, Clemencia’s struggle to find happiness, peace, and love hits home. It registers the loneliness and isolation that echoes Cisneros experienced growing up between homes, between cultures, and endlessly rejected by men.

Though Clemencia boasts that she is happily free and unattached, “her pain and loneliness are palpable” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001). She exacts a bizarre form of revenge on a married lover when she sleeps with his son (Cisneros 1991). For Clemencia, the sexual relationship with the younger generation “links her to his father and mother’s marital relations, of which he is the product, and her lover’s relative youth allows her to mother him” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001).

The disturbing logic driving the relationship simultaneously defames and yet honors what Clemencia denies herself – “marriage and motherhood” (Yudin & Kanoza 2001; Mullen 1996). Misinterpreting sexual power as personal power, Clemencia justifies her existence thus: “Human beings pass me on the street, and I want to reach out and strum them as if they were guitars. Sometimes all humanity strikes me as lovely” (Cisneros 1991).

But Clemencia’s “world is formed around an emptiness, a vacant space she can never quite fill, and she believes all others must share this vacancy. Guitars make music only because they are hollow” (Thomson 1994). Via this delusional and tragic woman, Cisneros “uses the behavior of men as a catalyst that propels her women into a search deep within themselves for the love that men have failed to give them” (Campbell 1991).

Critics’ Assessments

According to Rosenfeld’s 2002 study Measures of Assimilation in the Marriage Market: Mexican Americans 1970-1990, “Mexican immigrants have extremely high levels of national origin endogamy (as do immigrants from most other parts of the world), but Mexican immigrants also face substantial social barriers in their interactions with native Whites.

Mexican immigrants are far from generalized assimilation or specific assimilation with any native group” (Rosenfeld 2002). In their reviews, Critics such as Palmisano have named some of the main themes of Woman Hollering Creek as “poverty and cultural suppression, the search for self-identity, and the role of women in Mexican American culture” Palmisano 2004).

Other critics such as Fitts (2002) claim that Cisneros’s “characters engage in a continual process of cultural mediation, as they struggle to reconcile their Mexican past with their American present” (Fitts 2002). Similarly, Wyatt (1995) understands that Cisneros’s women traverse “the ambiguous space between cultures” and that…In Never Marry a Mexican short story, Cisneros complicates the notion of subverting feminine gender roles by borrowing from masculinity” (Wyatt 1995).

Silverstein and Chen’s (1999) research into the cultural impact of assimilation on Mexican American families led them to assert that “any social and economic benefit that might accrue to younger generations of Mexican Americans due to assimilation must be balanced against the possibility that such success comes with psychic costs associated with reduced social and emotional integration with older family members,” as well as the Mexican culture as a whole, as often imbued by the older generation (Silverstein & Chen 1999).

However, Cisneros’s stories, especially Never Marry a Mexican, speak more to Rosenfeld’s theory that the fractious relationship between Mexicans and Americans breeds a schism within Mexican immigrants themselves, wherein they fail to locate a home within themselves, and so their physical home remains elusive. Woman Hollering Creek, and Other Stories presents a world of Mexican women stuck between cultures but also stuck between conflicting ideas about themselves, their sexuality, and their purpose (Cisneros 1991).


The reader witnesses Cisneros’s female characters as they “realize the soul-deadening restrictions of familial and cultural expectations [and] struggle toward self-definition and control over their own destinies” (Palmisano 2004).

Many of these women attempt to acquire self-definition and control through manipulating men, sexually or otherwise, somehow expecting that their happiness and personal fulfillment can be found from some form of exterior power not emanating from their own self-worth. As is clear from the “Never Marry a Mexican” analysis, Cisneros’s women reflect the Mexican immigrant’s struggle to assimilate the parts of themselves that negative cultural stereotypes have taught them to hate.


Campbell, B. M. (1991, May 26). Crossing borders. The New York Times Book Review. 6.

Cisneros, S. (1991). Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. New York: Vintage, 43-56

Fitts, A. (2002). Sandra Cisneros’s modern Malinche: A reconsideration of feminine archetypes in Woman Hollering Creek. International Fiction Review, 11-22.

Mountain & Plains Independent Booksellers Association. (n.d.). Reading the West Book Awards.

Mullen, H. (1996). A silence between us like a language: The untranslatability of experience in Sandra Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek. MELUS, 21, (2), 3-20.

Palmisano, J. (2004). Woman Hollering Creek and Other Stories. Short Story Criticism, 72. n.p.

Rosenfeld, M. J. (2002). Measures of Assimilation in the Marriage Market: Mexican Americans 1970-1990. Journal of Marriage and Family, 64 (1), 152-162.

Silverstein, M. & Chen, X. (1999) The Impact of Acculturation in Mexican American Families on the Quality of Adult Grandchild-Grandparent Relationships. Journal of Marriage and Family, 61 (1), 188-198.

Thomson, J. (1994). What is called heaven: Identity in Sandra Cisneros’s Woman Hollering Creek, Studies in Short Fiction, 31 (3), 415-424.

Wyatt, J. (1995). On not being La Malinche: Border negotiations of gender in Sandra Cisneros’s ‘Never Marry a Mexican’ and ‘Woman Hollering Creek. Tulsa Studies in Women’s Literature, 14 (2), 243-272.

Yudin, M. F. & Kanoza, T. (2001). Sandra Cisneros. Critical Survey of Short Fiction, Second Revised Edition. Pasadena, CA: Salem Press. 1-5.

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Sandra Cisneros Research Paper

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer


The purpose of this paper is to review the literary style used by the feminist author Sandra Cisneros. Cisneros is one of the female writers who has expressed dissatisfaction with the American social system, especially due to racial segregation, poverty, economic and gender inequalities.

Her poetic approach, use of vignettes and the Spanish language in her books ‘The House on a Mango Tree’ and ‘Caramelo’ indicates a unique style that makes them easy to read and understand. this paper reviews the use of literary style by examining the use of these approaches in the two books.


Born in 1954, Sandra Cisneros grew up in her Chicago neighborhood. That area, at that time she was growing up, was ridden with poverty, gender and economic inequalities. (Doyle, 2004). Her early experiences probably explain why she uses literary works to investigate before mentioned social issues.

In her books ‘The House on a Mango Street’ and ‘Caramelo’, Cisneros applies a number of literary styles to express her ideas, present themes and develop a unique way of attracting a reader’s attention (Cruz, 2001). From analysis of the two given texts, one can argue that Cisneros’s use of poetic approach and vignettes contributes to the readability of her works. In addition, it displays the conciseness of literary styles, which, by the way, proves her ability to investigate social and economic issues in American setting.

The use of vignettes and readability

The author’s ability to develop a collection of vignettes into a volume that drives the narrative is excellent. It makes the readers easily understand the plot and the main idea(Cruz, 2001). For instance, critics have often described the book ‘House on a Mango Street’ as a collection of vignettes. The use of illustrations (or vignettes) allows her to create meanings and imagery that illustrate the plot (Cruz, 2001).

For instance, at the beginning of each chapter, Cisneros maintains the use of brief illustrations to explain the contents of each particular chapter. In fact, most of her illustrations are short. Most of them occupy less than half a page. For example, in the book ‘The House on a Mango Street’, the author uses vignettes to create the larger narrative. Each of the vignettes creates its own meaning and contribution to the development of the entire narrative.

For instance, “Chanclas” is one of the best examples of sound prose vignettes that the author applies to create the larger narrative (Cruz, 2001). Additional example is seen in the vignette “…in the meantime the boy is actually my cousin… but he has asked me to dance with him but I cannot…” It shows that the author’s sketch tends to illustrate the kind of insecurity that Esperanza experiences in her life. This insecurity results from poverty that the girl and her neighbors in Chicago have to endure as they grow up (Madsen, 2000).

Poetic approach

Throughout the book ‘The House on a Mango Street’, Cisneros has maintained the use of poems to illustrate her ideas and themes. Although she has used many poems in the book and this does not make it ostentatious. Rather, this device successfully makes the narrative clear and easy to understand (Doyle, 2004).

In fact, the poetic approach allows the author to develop metaphors and imagery. For instance, Esperanza (the main character in the book) says “…until then, I am a red balloon …that has been tied to an anchor…” (Cisneros, 1984). The term ‘red balloon’ is used to mean the annoyance that the young sister makes Esperanza feel when toting the child (Doyle, 2004).


With the use if vignettes and poetic approach, the author develops a narrative that is easy to read and understand. In addition, it is easy to comprehend the themes presented in the story. Her poetic approach, the use of vignettes and Spanish in her works indicates a unique style that makes the book easy to read and understand.


Cisneros, S. (1984). The House on a Mango Street. New York, NY: Vintage Contemporaries

Cruz, F. J. (2001). On the ‘Simplicity’ of Sandra Cisneros’s ‘House on Mango Street’. Modern Fiction Studies 47(4), 910–946

Doyle, J. (2004). More Room of Her Own: Sandra Cisneros’s ‘The House on Mango Street’. MELUS 19(4), 5–35

Madsen, D. L. (2000). Understanding Contemporary Chicana Literature. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press

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“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros Synthesis Essay

September 29, 2020 by Essay Writer

The interconnection between individuals, society and local communities is a network that defines life and choices people make.

Every situation is individual and people and their actions are framed by the conditions and circumstances of their personal lives, as well as those of people in the close circle.

“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros describes the life of a child who goes through hardships of being poor, having personal dilemmas and understanding the surrounding world. It focuses on the great influence of community on an individual and vice verse.

From the very beginning, the reader is familiarized with the previous life and hardships of a character whose name is Esperanza. At twelve year old, girl talks about the constant moving that goes back far in the past, so that she does not even remember all the places of residence.

The start familiarizes the audience that both family and the little girl have grave financial problems, as well as problems with the community they reside in (Cisneros 4).

The close relationship between individual people and families is established within the community and it becomes one of the reasons people feel unable to continue living in the area.

In case of the family Esperanza describes, the financial resources do not allow them to move into a nice neighborhood or a house and thus, they are forced to find living quarters in communities that have detrimental life conditions and people are not very kind to each other.

As parents want best for their children, the reason for Esperanza’s family to move out in a search of a better place becomes obvious.

Another theme mentioned in the book is the relationship between people’s background, race and how the outside majority community views others. Hispanic population has often felt pressure and unequal treatment form the American population.

The United States communities felt that people with Hispanic background influenced the economy and the state of affairs of workforce and general market demands.

Esperanza describes whole communities of people that affect the way minorities feel about themselves and such conditions have a negative result on individual securities and happiness of people.

It is especially noticeable, having in mind the insecurities that a little girl already has because of her family’s financial condition. Racial alienation and segregation from the rest of community has a lot of pressure on Esperanza.

While grouping up, a young mind is very sensitive when the whole nation of people presses on the psyche of minorities and makes individuals feel unwanted.

An interesting connection takes place between the way Esperanza feels about herself and the surrounding women. She observes how women are treated and experiences the community by herself. She starts noticing boys and begins to feel a want to have their attention.

Esperanza is surrounded by girls who have had relations and this becomes a whole new world for her. This is the time when she looks deep inside herself to find out that she has matured.

It has been known that girls become developed earlier than boy and this is another issue that Esperanza has to understand and deal with.

Everything changes when she gets abused and she learns that reality can be extremely harsh sometimes. This has a direct connection to the way women are treated in her community.

One of the biggest examples is Rafaela and the way she gets treated by her husband. As she is not allowed to go out because she is beautiful, she is forced to be confined in her house (Cisneros 82).

This is representative of the society and how men have been dominating women for such a long time.

Esperanza understands her pain, just as other women’s. When she talks about Mamacita and her want to go back home, it is heartbreaking to the reader that she was unable to adapt to new conditions.

She becomes homesick and despises the new world and the English language. The fact that her child learns to speak American has a great effect on her self esteem and she becomes even more saddened (Cisneros 78).

Esperanza can feel the pain of all women in her community and she learns a lot by observing the social make-up and how women are treated.

The author draws a unique line between individuality, community and person’s independence. One of the signs is the way Esperanza talks about trees on Mango Street and how she admires them. This points to a theme of people feeling trapped and lonely, so far as to identify with trees.

The community that surrounds individuals becomes a heavy burden and a vicious cycle that does not allow anyone to escape. When Esperanza’s family moves to a house, she is still very much unpleased with the ways things are turning out.

Her dreams were filled with a beautiful house that has a garden, green grass and all the pretty images form themselves into the only goal Esperanza can think off. Her focus is to escape the life of poverty and buy the house of her dreams.

The home that the girl sees in her mind is an escape from the harsh reality of the world she lives in. It is representative of a sense of belonging and a corner where she can escape to.

All the major themes of the book unite into one that describes the external pressures on a young mind. Esperanza is an example of a person who notices everything around her but is unable to change things.

She becomes trapped by the community, the views of the society and personal understanding. As she spent her whole young life in moving and searching for a better place to live, she cannot compare any other way of life to her own.

All she has left is to imagine a beautiful house that is her only path out of the world she does not want to be a part of. Racial separation, poverty, social role of women and her personal determination to change the circumstances become a force that keeps reminding of itself.

Esperanza is unable to get used to such cruelties that people suscept each other to and she wants to get far away.

The book very precisely illustrates the lives of people who suffer all around. The majority of the population does not notice that a lot of families have to struggle to make ends meet and feed their children.

The governments are mostly helpless in changing the social order that has been established for a long time. In the modern world, conditions have become better for those less fortunate but nonetheless, it is far from perfect, so books like this are very valuable and needed.

Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. London, Great Britain: Bloomsbury Publishing, 2004. Print.

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Sexism in The House on Mango Street from Sandra Cisneros

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

What’s Sexism?
The word “sexism” became widely known during the Women’s Liberation Movement of the 1960s. At that time, feminist theorists explained that oppression of women was widespread in nearly all human society, and they began to speak of sexism instead of male chauvinism. Whereas male chauvinists were usually individual men who expressed the belief that they were superior to women, sexism referred to collective behavior that reflected society as a whole.

Sexism is a form of discrimination based on gender.

While many people use the term specifically to describe discrimination against women, it can also affect men, intersexuals, and transsexuals, along with individuals who “eschew” traditional gender roles and identities. Sexism includes attitudes that support discrimination, such as stereotyping sex roles and generalizing an entire gender.

It can be rooted in cultural traditions, fear, hatred, or superiority. Members of the same gender often criticize themselves with arguments which are rooted in sexism without knowing it, as for example when women criticize each other for being too masculine and defying traditional ideas about gender roles and how women should behave.

Sexism in Mango Street.

Discrimination on the basis of gender can take a wide variety of forms. For example, some people believe that women should stay at home to focus on rearing children and keeping house, rather than pursuing professional careers. In the most violent instances, it can also drive to gender violence cases. These two forms of sexism are very conspicuous in The House on Mango Street. The sexist prejudice is clear right from the beginning of the novel. On page 10, Esperanza, the narrator, explains the meaning of her name with the connection to the Chinese culture, and she says “I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans, don’t like their women strong”.

In many of the next chapters, we can see that some men on Mango Street beat their wives and daughters and confine them to the home. On chapter Boys&Girls, the “separate worlds” inhabited by boys and girls is a metaphor for the sexism and stereotypes that the narrator confronts and longs to escape.

The narrator speaks with great irony when describing her brothers’ hypocritical treatment of her and Nenny: “They’ve got plenty to say to me and Nenny inside the house. But outside they can’t be seen talking to girls.” On the Chapter Alicia who sees Mice, we can perceive that the character from Alicia is beaten by her father, as it says “Alicia is afraid of nothing except four-legged fur. And fathers”.

Another beaten character is Sally, which says to Esperanza “He never hits me hard” referring to his father, and then lies at school saying that she fall or something in the way. Later in the book, on the chapter Linoleum Roses, we find out that this character, also escapes from her beating father by getting married with an older man. But this isn’t a real escape because although she can find relieve on having material possessions, her husband is as violent as his father and he doesn’t let her go out from home and nobody can visit her unless he’s working.

This is an example of the slavement and confinement that sexism can cause. We can also see machism reflected on Rafaela’s character, whose husband confines her home and doesn’t let her out, so she dreams of being Rapunzel and asks the children to buy juice for her through the window. We can see Sandra Cisneros feminist ideology from the beginning of the book, then she dedicates it “A las mujeres To the women”. Besides, she offers us a critique of the way men and women relate to one another, through Esperanza’s character, which refuses to conform to the expectations placed on her sex by getting married or even acting in a “feminine” way.

We can think that defying gender roles and remaining independent is an act of rebellion for Esperanza, in the context of Chicano society. The clearest example of this is on page 89, when Esperanza says “I have begun my own quite war. Simple. Sure. I am one who leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate.”

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Discrimination with “A House on Mango Street”

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

In the society of today, discrimination and other similar ideas are not suppressed so that they are free to roam our cities, states, countries, and finally the whole world. Still, different sides of the world have different types of discriminations. There are some about animals, race, etc. But the worst possible is discrimination against the opposite sex; cause then those people would be against about 50 percent of the world’s population of humans. So, those who oppose this would try to show the world that the idea of sexism is wrong, and Sandra Cisneros is one of then.

She indirectly discusses it in a book, “House on Mango Street.”

This book, “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, showed feminism and machismo in the Latino culture. For example, I quote, “I thought I would because he was so old and just as I was about to put my lips on his cheek, he grabs my face with both hands and kisses me hard on the mouth and doesn’t let go.

”(p.55) In this quote, the man, who represents the machismo side, tries to take control of Esperanza, which is in the feminism side. This shows an example for power between each other and the thought that the sexes are unequal, unbalanced, and that the male side has more power.

For, is the man in the story didn’t think that he could kiss Esperanza and get away with it because he has the right to do so, then he wouldn’t have done so. Just because the society that Esperanza lives in believe that women have no right in the governments or any other part of the society than to care for the family that she lives in and nothing else. So, taking the machismo’s side, first of all I think that it is wrong and that all people are on the same level of equality, its just that some prove themselves more valuable to others so that they have more power in the real world but no person has power over another person.

Women’s rights is another important idea of discriminations. An example from this book would be, “Then Rafaela, who is still young but getting old from leaning out the window so much, gets locked indoor because her husband is afraid Rafaela will run away since she is too beautiful to look at.”(p.79) In this part of the story, the one on the feminism side is being locked up and prevented from doing what she wants to do. In my point of view, plus my previous experiences, I know that no one likes to be locked up and not enjoy the joy while is possible to do so. Also, it affects how the affected person would respond to others when they are free because they would have never even touched the real world.

It would have both physical and mental effects. In addition to that, the women shouldn’t be locked up and more they are limited, the more they would be afraid of the world outside and surrounding them. But, even though most women who are locked up in their own house would be afraid of the world outside, in the very inside, there would be a place where they are longing to transform the musty air they breath to fresh. The dull and bitter papaya and coconut juice would then change into sugar and bubbly drinks. All these would be incomplete without some equality in this society and world.

There are places for everyone in this world, but sometimes there are a few people who will never know where they fit. These people are ignored and need places to belong to. For example, Esperanza needs a home of her own because the house she is living in now brings her and her family shame. In the hierarchy of needs, love and caring is one of the parts in it and when the hierarchy is incomplete, there would be problems and disorders. These women who are fighting hard not only for freedom, but also their lives, and they are least likely to succeed when the opposite sex are constantly harassing them and don’t make them feel that they belong. Some strong willed ones would find a way to escape their treacherous would, but that does not work for every abused woman. As a result, the men would give the women so hard of a time to live their lives that they would even fear to even think about escaping their present life. They are why equality must be achieved throughout the world.

All that is done and said, there is only one thing left to do. Words may change people’s thoughts and ideas, but words without action is just like living on a deserted island, no point in doing so. That is why we must bring words and actions together to fight discrimination back to where it came from. Words alone would only give a new idea and would not change the world. Action alone would result in only hurting people. Still, words alone, like Martin Luther King or Caesar Chavez, would succeed, but it would take more time and the “inactive” people would suffer before the world changes. All
that is asked is that ideas of how discriminations should be public so that everyone would know how the majority of the population feels and some or even all would change their ideas about how to treat one another and finally achieve equality. It is all about how in which perspective the ideas are seen. It would take a long and grueling process, but the rewards are always better than what is lost.

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Culture and Change in The House on Mango Street

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

The House on Mango Street presents a strong cultural background. Cisnero allows Esperanza to reveal her Mexican background in My Name. Esperanza introduces herself, explaining the meaning of her name and how she inherited it from her grandmother. She shows her love for her culture when she points out how her name sounds better when said in Spanish. She also complains about her disdain for how it sound when said in English. However, Esperanza also writes about how she wishes to change her name into something that would represent her better.

Changing her name would also mean letting go of a part of her that greatly spoke of her ethnicity and background. It is not only her name that Esperanza wishes to change but the direction of her life as well. She speaks about how her grandmother used to be a wild woman, like a horse – free and independent. But after some time, her grandmother was forced to marry and to live a life she had not chosen for herself.

This is not what Esperanza wants.

She does not want to relinquish herself to the customs of her culture of getting married and adopting the female roles of a wife and mother. The main character’s negative feelings for the way she is growing up and where she is doing so are not only seen in her desire to change her name but in the way she speaks of her house as well. Although the family’s house in Mango Street is a better change from their old one, Esperanza is still disappointed with it. She does not see it as a house that she can show off to her friends or that she, herself, can take pride in.

Esperanza’s parents continuously assure her and her siblings that the house is only temporary but Esperanza know that it is not. She keeps thinking of the house that she wants, a spacious house with many bathrooms. Esperanza’s disappointment with their house is also indicative of her disappointment with their neighborhood. The house, for her, is the epitome of the destitute neighborhood they live in. Esperanza constantly writes about wanting to leave the house and escape the limitations of the neighborhood.

It is clear here that Esperanza not only wants to change her name but the house and neighborhood she lives in as well. This can also be construed as a turning away from the culture she has grown up in. Change, in Esperanza’s case, can still be made, however, without detracting from the culture and ethnic backgrounds on which her life has been founded. This is what Esperanza learns near the end of the stories. She realizes that even though the environment and the circumstances are not ideal, she still belongs in Mango Street, in her culture and background.

Even though she still wants to improve her situation, she knows she can not do it without coming to terms with her background. Acceptance of who one is and where one comes from is essential when trying to move on into a brighter future. Change does not necessitate throwing away the past. In fact, change requires the use of the foundations of the past. Taking one’s culture and background and shaping it to be more appropriate for the uses of the present allows change to take place without disregarding heritage.

How far can this “shaping” go, however, without subtracting too much from the quality of the culture? There is no exact answer but one truth should be acknowledged: culture is ingrained, instilled in an individual no matter how great the change. Especially in individuals like Esperanza who grew up in the thick of the customs and traditions of their culture, even changing their name or their residence would not hide their culture. Esperanza was correct, however, in realizing that change could only be done by accepting the past and building from it.

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Esperanza of The House on Mango Street

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

The House on Mango Street is a collection of musings of a young female named Esperanza. The main character and the direction of the stories is revealed in the first story. It is in The House on Mango Street that Sandra Cisnero sets Esperanza up as a young girl dreaming of a brighter future and yet floored on the realities of her situation. The first story introduces Esperanza as someone who plans on escaping the place where she is growing up.

She is old enough to understand that the promises of her parents about the temporariness of their house are not going to be fulfilled any time soon. She is, however, young enough to believe that physically leaving Mango Street will mean a complete escape from the things that Mango Street and their house represent. The youthfulness of Esperanza is shown in Hairs where she describes her family and herself through a description of the type of hair each had. She tells about still being comforted by her mother’s presence beside her in their bed.

It is also in this story that one understands Esperanza’s personality. She is free-spirited and hard to tame, like her hair. But she is clearly in the process of developing into a woman as she expresses her emotions for her mother’s hair – the hair of a truly ladylike woman. Esperanza is shown here to be in the transitional period of developing from a child into a complete lady. She most probably would be in her teenage years. The emotional and personal development of Esperanza is also seen in My Name.

When she speaks of not wanting to be like her grandmother – a woman beside the window, trapped – she shows that she is already capable of deciding for herself the future she wants to have. She also shows her knowledge about the outside world when she speaks of the Chinese culture and its possible similarities with the Mexican culture. She also shows a deeper understanding of society when she explains how Chinese culture and Mexican culture do not want their women strong which is why they do not give them strong names.

Her reference to women being suppressed and kept from being strong also shows that she is aware of this bias. She is clearly developing emotionally because she can formulate for herself judgments about the things that occur in the society she lives in. In this part of the stories, My Name, Esperanza demonstrates development from being the young girl who dreams of escaping her house because she wants more space to the teen who wants change because she no longer agrees with the things around her. She wants to change her name insisting that it does not refer to the “real her”.

She wants a life that is different from her grandmother’s. The aspirations of Esperanza in this part have developed. From a house with more bedrooms and bathrooms, Esperanza now aspires for more abstract concepts – independence, choice, freedom. In the final parts of the stories, Esperanza seems to have finally developed into a wiser and more practical woman. She realizes that escaping Mango Street is not something she can do physically for the moment. She decides to write instead. This allows her release from the frustrations she feels for the place she lives in.

Esperanza understands now that Mango Street is a part of her life and will continue to be so even after she leaves it. She seems to have made peace with herself and instead of continually trying to push for a way out, she now focuses on ways to improve herself. This is, according to her, the way to finally be able to leave Mango Street. Her wisdom is seen when she states that only in leaving Mango Street, improving herself somewhere else, and coming back to Mango Street can she truly be able to help those who do not have the ability to leave.

Her goals are now realigned to include those in her community. Esperanza completes her journey from childhood to young adulthood in the pages of The House on Mango Street. She forms a clearer view of who she really is through her experiences in her house and grows emotionally as well. The maturity of Esperanza is seen not only in her thoughts but in the observations she has made from her neighborhood. She has learned from the lives of those around her and has grown from the lessons she gathered.

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A Comparative Analysis Of Langston Hughes’s The Negro Speaks Of Rivers And Sandra Cisneros’s House On Mango Street

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

The House on Mango Street

History repeats itself in more ways than one and this statement reigns true for almost all aspects of life and this especially holds true with war. Over and over again we see destruction promises of repair and then many decades later another war emerges with the same carnage and promises. The most famous example of this would be Napoleon invading Russia and Hitler invading Russia and the outcome was the same for both men and armies.

The repetition that is most prevalent and either undermined or discarded though is the treatment of people and in particular minorities. The treatment of minorities and people of darker color is so outlandish and is visible throughout the world in countries and the whole continent of Africa which faced brutal imperialism and slave trading a couple hundred years ago. This quote worn on a shirt of famous rapper and Outkast member André 3000 saying “Across cultures darker people suffer most. Why?” This quote reiterates the idea that darker skinned people face more scrutiny and have a harder time in life than those of fairer skin.

America is the home of thousands of nationalities and ethnicities from all over the world but it is harder for immigrants and minorities to find their identity and make something of themselves while being happy and different but still holding on to their roots in from other countries but still being proud to be American. These struggles are no more prevalent and no more accurate than in the novel “House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros and the poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” by Harlem Renaissance writer Langston Hughes. These two bodies of work detail the life of African Americans in the United States and a young Latina woman in the United States and their struggles of finding themselves and knowing where they came from while still moving forward in life and dealing with their hardships. In one of the outside sources which is titles “Straddling Boundaries identity culture and school” talks about kids struggling to find themselves and speaks on being able to find themselves in places like school where they learn about their history and their past. The other article “In search of identity in Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street” it does focus on the main character Esparanza’s life in America and all she has to deal with along with being a preadolescent female but struggling with the problems and unjust obstacles life has to offer and she has trouble finding herself and identifying herself and who she is in this world which often times can be unforgiving.

These two texts in theme of finding identity have similar narratives but set in different times. “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” talks about the struggle of African Americans as a whole and how lost they are in some cases due to the fact that they have been taken away from their home land and given new identities and new names that they are not familiar with and is not theirs. Langston Hughes is reminding us of this and who African American’s are and where they came from and that they are not just slaves but much much more. “In House on Mango Street” it is about the life of Esperanza and dealing with life and people not understanding her in particular because she is a woman and she does not have the same freedoms as men do and also because she is not wealthy and lives in a terrible neighborhood people do not understand her as well. Being Hispanic in a tough neighborhood does not let her have the same opportunities as white people in rich or good neighborhoods and she states that they look down on her when they do look at her. She spends the whole novel contemplating leaving home to find herself somewhere else because her barrio is not meant for that. Identity is a huge part of minorities an culture too but as you can see many minorities have trouble finding their identity in America the land of mixed cultures.

In “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” author Langston Hughes he tries to bring a comparison to the negro of his time in the 1920’s and the ancestors who were the first to start civilization in the first thousand years of modern civilization in Africa. He wants to African Americans to reconnect with their roots. People have been almost tricked to forget where they came from and their greatness building the pyramids and creating monuments that millions of people around the world marveled at. The denial of this and the act of taking the truth away and discriminating against African Americans is racism which some say is America’s original sin and what Langston Hughes is fighting against in his poem “The Negro Speaks of Rivers.” His motive is to uplift African American’s and to show them that they are worth more than what they were told to be, during the time of segregation and Jim Crow laws they still have a voice and a past to be proud of.

In the poem Langston speaks from a voice of an ancestor saying the he too knows. Although never being in Africa he speaks as if he was from there and this is the new way of writing because Hughes as a black man now has a voice and can say what he please as well as the way of writing it has changed to a simpler form but still resonates with people just not the super wealthy and those who can read. In this poem the first three lines reiterates features of Africa.

“I’ve known rivers:

I’ve known rivers ancient as the world and older than the flow

Of human blood and veins.

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

I bathed in the Euphrates when dawns were young.

I built my hut near the Congo and it lulled me to sleep.”

Hughes is talking about the Nile River and he is saying that it is as old as the earth and that it is ingrained in us in our body and we are the earth. He said that his soul has grown deep and it means that he feels as if he is attached to the earth and he is part of it. Another river is the Euphrates which has given life to so many people used for bathing, sailing, and fishing but it has also been here for a long time. What he means by this line is that he along with Africans have been on earth for a long time. The last line talks about having a home in the Congo and he fell asleep with the sound of the river.

I looked upon the Nile and raised the pyramids above it.

I heard the singing of the Mississippi when Abe Lincoln went down to New Orleans, and I’ve seen it’s muddy bosom turn all golden in the sunset.

I’ve known rivers:

Ancient, dusky rivers;

My soul has grown deep like the rivers.

Hughes continues to talk about the Nile and how it raised people and was such an influence on the lives of the Egyptians at the time when they were using it for every aspect of life and it was a catalyst for them being able to flourish without that they would not have been able to make the pyramids. Hughes then makes a comparison to moving down the Mississippi to with Abraham Lincoln to New Orleans and how from having a muddy bosom to being a golden sunset which could annotate the transition from slavery to being freed with the emancipation proclamation. Hughes finishes the poem by saying that he knows these rivers old rivers and those that are shadowy his soul being an African American male has history and runs deep like the rivers.

“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros tells the tale of a young girl that is struggling to make it in America with hurdles that she has to go through. This text is different from “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” because Hughes speaks for an entire group of people who have been hurt and had their identity taken away from them and he is also trying to make a connection between the present day negro and the African of early civilizations. “The House on Mango Street” it talks about one specific character but can be used for many generations of Hispanic women growing up in America and millions going through the same struggle today.

Esperanza gives us her background at first and where she is living and how she got to mango street. Her father is always working and her mother is always at home watching over the kids, she has two younger brothers and one other sister. Esperanza is not very fortunate because she is not popular and it is hard for her to find a friend to tell secrets to. She has her sister but it is not the same due to the fact that her sister is younger than her and cannot cognitively have a conversation with her because she us so young. However, Esperanza is always stuck watching her little sister so she cannot do what her brothers do and play or focus on herself because she is so busy with her little sister. Another way her life is different is because of her ethnicity she details how others do not understand her and how she depicted them looking at her and her people from the outside and not understanding their way of life. Esperanza dictates how people vie her and people like her harshly and criticize them for living the way do even though they are trying their best with what they can.

Again we see in “The House on Mango Street” like we did in “The Negro Speaks of Rivers” that minorities struggle to identify themselves and feel the need to overcompensate for their lives and actions to feel better about themselves. This comparison is significant because to different races fear the same things and two different authors writing in different times can still have the same view of their people and America as a whole. Being misunderstood by others and even misunderstanding themselves is something that they have to deal with while trying to identify themselves to their own selves while they are being told what to do by many other people. Although the authors of these two different texts are of different sexes, different races, and writing in different periods the problem remains the same.

As the quote from earlier still reigns true why do darker people suffer more across the world. History is repeating itself over and over maybe it is not the exact same way but if this is the result after decades of minorities living in America it is not a very good one and does not show progress at all. This question is part of a problem that is rooted deep in the heart of America racism that has been embedded in the psyche of Americans but has been hidden and for a big extent subtlety regarded as false or not prevalent. These two texts ring them to live without blatantly shouting it out but by bringing us in the lives of minorities in the past and present and shows America not as the great nation everyone believes it is but one of flaw and not perfect like the humans we are, and although it is not perfect and neither are we we must strive for perfection to make this country the best it can for all people.

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“The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros: issues of Mexican American women

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

Sandra Cisneros who in her book The House on Mango Street, tried to express the issues that Mexican American women had to live with every single day (Cisneros, 1991). Although many women have faced gender inequality at all levels, they can make the decision of enhancing their roles without cowing to gender inequality.

The House on Mango Street is a combination of vignettes that cannot be identified as either being stories or poems. The combination of these vignettes ensures more reader understanding.

The book is about Esperanza Cordero, a young girl who develops from a young girl into a young woman in the Chicago Chicano ghetto and the woes she faces during her development stages. The vignette unfolds during her twelfth year of existence in which she and her family move into a house in Mango Street (Cisneros, 2005). It provides a clear description of the kind of poverty and racial discrimination that the people of Mango Street were subjected into by the other races, as they were not pure Americans but Mexican Americans.

The novel is a clear indication of the relationship that Esperanza formulated with Lucy and Rachel.

This was an important relationship as its main role was to usher the girls together with Nelly into puberty. As Esperanza matures both physically and sexually, she discards the friendship of Lucy and Rachel in favor of Sally, who was more mature both physically and sexually. Sally uses men sexually to escape from her abusive father. Although Esperanza does not agree with her, she still keeps the friendship that is cut off when she is sexually abused in a carnival after being abandoned by Sally because of a boy (Cisneros, 2005). She starts to write poems as a means of escaping from her woes and shares them with the trustworthy older women of her street. After learning the anguish they have to face everyday due to gender inequality, she vows to leave the street to formulate a better future for herself. She however, realizes that in forging a better future for herself she would also be forging a better future for the ones she left behind, as she would come back later to offer the deserved freedom they had always longed for.

The vignette unfolds from the viewpoint of Esperanza, which presents to the reader the type of intimacy that would be absent if the author wrote about Esperanza instead. The reader is welcomed into her inner thoughts thus making him understand the decisions and actions that she carries out at a higher perspective. This can be elaborated by the part where she meets Sire and the other boys at the carnival. She asserts, ‘They didn’t scare me. They did, but I wouldn’t let them know.’ (Cisneros, 1991, Pg 70). This is a clear indication that she always assumed a strong demeanor before people that intimidated her, which she later translated into fear for the reader to understand her true feelings. In her Street, women were viewed as the lesser gender but through the reactions assumed by Esperanza, the reader comes to the understanding that women were stronger than they looked.

The major character in the novel is Esperanza as she is the character who is bestowed with the role of narrating the vignettes to the reader. The other minor character in the vignettes is Nelly, Esperanza’s small sister with whom she plays with but feels that she is not mature enough due to her childish nature. Next comes Lucy and Rachel, the two sisters who have articulated a don’t-care attitude into their lives thus endearing themselves to Esperanza (Bloom, 2010). Sally is the other minor character who contributes to Esperanza’s maturity both sexually and physically. Sire, the boy who later assaults Esperanza together with his friends, plays the role of ushering her into discovering the talent that would enhance her escape from the oppressive life of Mango Street. The other minor characters include the older women of Mango Street, Esperanza’s two brothers, Cathy who took her on a tour of the street and the other neighbors that encompassed the people of Mango Street.

The real protagonist incorporated into the novel is Esperanza because the whole story encompasses her narration of the life she lived from when she was a young girl to when she matured into a young woman. The novel is void of real antagonists but Esperanza can be identified as her own antagonist. This is because the conflicts expressed in the story result from the misunderstanding exhibited by Esperanza where her life is concerned. In the novel, an instance is narrated of how she made fun of her sick aunt but she later regrets this due to the strong friendship that existed between them. The tone and mood of the story is based on the tone adopted by Esperanza as well as the mood that she exhibits on different occasions. She assumes a joyous mood in ‘Our Good Day’ and a somber mood in ‘Red Clowns’. (Cisneros, 1991). The tone articulated into the whole novel is a Reminiscent Tone. Different types of figurative language are incorporated into the novel.

The type of language used in the first chapter of the book is poetic prose. In this case, the chapter is a monologue in which Esperanza narrates on the house they moved into when they arrived at Mango Street. In this case, flashbacks are incorporated into the narration as a form of enlightening the reader on the different situations that Esperanza’s family had been subjected into before deciding to live in the house at Mango Street. The narrator utilizes a complicated style in her narration because she jumps from one narration into an unrelated narration as a clear indication of the conflicts that were being experienced in her mind. There is no clear transition from one narration to the other (Bloom, 2010). A good example of this is seen when she jumps from narrating about the house they had moved to into narrating about her childhood that was filled with diverse woes.

The language used in the narrations sometimes takes up a lyrical style in which dialogue and description is incorporated. This is experienced in her narration of how the house she lived in looked like because it posed a sense of shame in her life. She asserts, ‘It’s small and red with tight steps in front and the 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, 1991, Pg 20). In the case, he personifies the windows and the door to enhance the importance that she had attached into a good house in which she could later identify as a home. This personification is utilized to stand for the obstacles that were standing between Esperanza and her acquisition of a better future. Dialogue is utilized to bring more meaning into the narration and to bring out the feelings attached to the narration.

For example in, ‘Where do you live? She asked. There, I said pointing up to the third floor. You live there? There. I lived there. I nodded’. (Cisneros, 1991, Pg 18). Dialogue in this case is utilized to bring out the tension in the conversation. Repetition is also incorporated into the dialogue as a means of emphasizing on the theme of the concept of home, which is mainly prevalent in the novel. Metaphors are prevalently utilized in the narration where the author incorporates it as a means of giving hints of what is going to take place later in the narration. The description of the smallness of the house is used as metaphor that stands for the developments of Esperanza during her transition from childhood to adulthood. Her virginity and the awakening curiosity about sexuality that she exhibited especially before the development of her friendship with Sally can be illustrated by the assertion, ‘So swollen you have to push hard to get in’. (Cisneros, 1991, Pg 30). The premise of her attaining the ownership of a good house is a metaphor that is used to stand for attaining her independence as a woman in a world full of gender inequality.

Imagery is prevalent in the narration especially in instances where the narrator describes the types of hair that are contained in her family. She emphasizes on her mother’s hair that she describes in detail. The description of the hair is meant to aid the reader in understanding the important role played by her mother in her life. This is a clear indication of the importance of women in the society though they are identified by the society as second-class citizens. The comfort she feels when she has physical contact with her mother is also touched on in her description of her mother’s hair. She says that her mother’s hair is ‘sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you’. (Cisneros, 1991, Pg 40). The narrator also uses similes in her description to show a sense of nourishment, warmth and craving, which would later translate into a natural solace thus she depicts, the warm smell of bread before you bake it.”

Symbolism is a prevalent element in the narration, which aids in the acquisition of a deeper meaning of the novel. The shoes referred to in the narration; symbolize the adult femininity and sex, which translates to the conflict between sexual admiration due to attractiveness and the independence desires that are exhibited by Esperanza. The trees in the narration symbolize the sense of independence experienced by Esperanza as compared by the other older women from her street (Bloom, 2010). She is the only woman character who exhibits a sense of independence because the other women are trapped in one way or the other. The use of poetry to descried life in Mango Street symbolizes the need for the use of beautiful language in the description by women and the small girls in order to lessen the burden they are subjected to by the poor life prevalent in that street.

The narration incorporates different motifs. The first motif incorporated into the narration is names. Esperanza being the main character in the novel exhibits a single name while the other characters exhibit mixed names. This is employed in the elaboration of the different conflicts that the people of that street experience based on their different identities in terms of their lives, their neighborhood, their families and their country (Teacher’s Pet Publications, 2000). It is an indication of the different cultures that are represented in the street. Falling is another motif that stands for the fear of failure that the people exhibit. Esperanza looks forward to flying away and never falling in the same manner that Meme fell. This is an indication that she longs for the day that she would escape from the bondage of gender inequality.

The women at the windows, is a motif used to symbolize the inequalities that women have to face each day due to their gender inequality. It also symbolizes the sense of inadequacy experienced by the women in Mango Street (Cisneros, 2005). This spells the main reason why Esperanza is bent on escaping from the Street and later come back to bring freedom to the trapped women. The major themes articulated into the narration include sexuality vs. autonomy, the struggle for self-definition, racial segregation, gender inequality and the concept of home. Under the concept of home, Esperanza attaches a good home to the house that her father works, which is big and luxurious. She does not feel any sense of home in their little house. This steers her to the decision of escaping from Mango Street in search of the home that she had been longing for.

The description of the differences that existed between the girls and the boys bring out gender inequality in the narration. Esperanza emphasizes on the fact that boys and girls are bestowed with different roles. This provides less powers to women thus they should take the responsibility of protecting themselves from inequality. Esperanza in this case works towards empowering the women as a means for eradicating gender inequality. Racial segregation is brought out by the inhabitants of Chicago who are plagued with poverty due to the discrimination they face from other races (Teacher’s Pet Publications, 2000). Chicago is a state that is plagued with racial segregation to date. The struggle for self-definition is brought out through the conflicts that the inhabitants of Mango Street exhibit. Instead of exhibiting good names, they exhibit mixed names and this is a clear indication of their struggle for self-definition.

Esperanza being both the protagonist and the antagonist exhibits signs of a struggle for self-definition through the conflicts that plague her mind everyday. Sexuality vs. autonomy is prevalent especially in the case where Esperanza wants to acquire her independence and live in the house she has been longing for (Bloom, 2010). At the same time, she combines this with the need for finding a good man but she later realizes that she cannot attain the two goals at the same time. The two goals are mutually exclusive as exhibited by the older women of Mango Street who are trapped in marriages, though they possess the homes they wanted. She however chooses autonomy over sexuality when she concentrates on writing rather than boys.

Women especially in minority races have been faced predominantly with gender inequality. Some have taken the role of enhancing the elimination of that evil and they have worked very hard to mobilize the others in adoption of their ideologies. The House on Mango Street is a good example of the gender inequality that the Mexican American women have been facing in their lives (Cisneros, 1991). The narrator in the novel however looks for ways of changing this norm but she is faced with many obstacles on her way. The novel utilizes different elements, themes and motifs in bringing out the point that women can be empowered to eradicate gender inequality. This is brought out by the fact that Esperanza believes that when she escapes from her hometown she will return later to mobilize the other women towards eradicating gender inequality. Although she does not leave at the climax of the novel, noble ideologies have been born in her mind towards empowering her fellow women. In conclusion, although many women have faced gender inequality at all levels, they can make the decision of enhancing their roles without cowing to gender inequality.


  • Bloom, H. (2010). In Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street. New York, NY: Bloom’s Literary Criticism.
  • Cisneros, S. (1991). In the House on Mango Street. New York, NY: Vintage Books.
  • Cisneros, S. (2005). In House on Mango Street Sparknotes Literature Guide. New York, NY: Spark Educational Publ.
  • Teacher’s Pet Publications. (2000). In the House on Mango Street: A Unit Plan Based on the Book by Sandra Cisneros. LitPlans literature resource guides. Berlin, MD: Teacher’s Pet.
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“House on Mango Street” by San Cisneros

August 26, 2020 by Essay Writer

The fiction novel, House on Mango Street written by San Cisneros shows a little girl named Esperanza who lives in a poverty filled area of Chicago called Mango Street. Esperanza wants to be an author. Esperanza and her friend Alicia believe that writing would lead to a better life. The author suggests through these characters that education would offer a kind of freedom.

Alicia, Esperanzas friend studies all night because she’s afraid of end up having a life similar to her mother.

‘You just remember to keep writing Esperanza. Just keep writing. It will keep you free and I said yes, but at the same time I didn’t know what she meant, ‘ (61). Esperanza loves and enjoys writing. For a woman to have freedom is a very important thing to Esperanzas aunt. Although, when Esperanzas aunt told her that her writing will keep her free she did not understand. Now that she is older she understands.

Esperanza understood that writing all of her thoughts down when she wants is a way of feeling free.

It will keep her happy.
‘Alicia, who inherited her mamas rolling pin and sleepiness, is young and smart and studies for the first time at the university. Two trains and a bus, because she doesn’t want to spend her whole life in a factory or behind a rolling pin,’ (31-32).

As well as Esperanza, Alicia wants to do whatever she wants and she craves happiness. She has a chance to reach her goals because she is still young. She keeps studying and writing so that she will not end up like her mother working in a factory. This in turn gives her a gateway to freedom.

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