An Analysis of The House on Mango Street
In the novel, The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros describes the problems that Latino women face in a society that treats them as second class citizens. A society that is dominated by men, and a society that values women for what they look like, and not for what is on inside. In her Novel Cisneros wants us to envision the obstacles that Latino women must face everyday in order to be treated equally.
In the Book women are looked upon as objects by men whether they are boyfriends, friends fathers or husbands. The girls in the novel grow up with the mentality that looks and appearance are the most important things to a woman.
Cisneros also shows how Latino women are expected to be loyal to their husbands, and that a husband should have complete control of the relationship. Yet on the other hand, Cisneros describes the character Esperanza as being different. Even though she is born and raised in the same culture as the women around her, she is not happy with it, and knows that someday she will break free from its ties, because she is mentally strong and has a talent for telling stories. She comes back through her stories by showing the women that they can be independent and live their own lives. In a way this is Cinceros’ way of coming back and giving back to the women in her community.
The Latino women and girls in the novel are extremely concerned about their appearances, because they feel that if they aren’t attractive then they won’t be noticed by men, and they are raised to believe that they need a man to fulfil their life, and that they need a husband to support them, and if they don’t look attractive then they are not going to be noticed, and if they are not noticed, then they think they won’t end up getting married.
A good example of this is Marin. When Marin talks about a real job Marin says that the best place to work is downtown, not because of the work that is there, but because “you always get to look beautiful and were nice clothes.” She also tells the girls that the only thing that matters is if your skirts are short, and your eyes are pretty, so that you are noticed by guys. Cisneros is showing us again that the only values that these Latino woman have are the values placed upon them by men, and these values are observed by little girls w!
ho think this is the right way of doing things, and therefore the idea of women being independent is never heard of, until girls like Esperanza have hopes of leaving her male controlled society, and becoming independent, only to one day hope of coming back to teach others that they don’t have to be dependent on men.
The symbolic importance of the clothes to they girls is shown one day when the girls are given a bag of high heeled shoes that Esperanza calls “magic high-heels.” When the girls put on the shoes they felt like Cinderella.
They spend time learning how to cross and uncross their legs and how to walk down to the corner “so that the shoes talk back to you with every step.” Esperanza says that “the men can’t take their eyes off us,” The girls don’t seem to mind this treatment either. They enjoy it, because they are too young to understand that they are being treated as objects, not people.
In the chapter, “Sally”, Cisneros describes a girl that she admires but doesn’t explain anything about her besides her looks. Esperanza describes her as having “eyes like Egypt, and nylons the color of smoke.” You can tell that Esperanza is very envious of Sally, and would like to have smoky nylons , and have black suede shoes.
Even though Esperanza knows that Sally will probably be headed for a life of difficulties because of her grown-up looks, Esperanza sees herself as the “the ugly .