The House On Mango Street: Seeking Independence Essay

This essay has a total of 1012 words and 5 pages.

The House On Mango Street: Seeking Independence

In the book The House on Mango Street, author Sandra Cisneros presents a series of
vignettes that involve a young girl, named Esperanza, growing up in the Latino section of
Chicago. Esperanza Cordero is searching for a release from the low expectations and
restrictions that Latino society often imposes on its young women. Cisneros draws on her
own background to supply the reader with accurate views of Latino society today. In
particular, Cisneros provides the chapters "Boys and Girls" and "Beautiful and Cruel" to
portray Esperanza's stages of growth from a questioning and curious girl to an independent
woman. Altogether, "Boys and Girls" is not like "Beautiful and Cruel" because Cisneros
reveals two different maturity levels in Esperanza; one of a wavering confidence with the
potential to declare her independence, and the other a personal awareness of her own
actions and the decision to take action and wage her "own quiet war (Cisneros 89).


Author Sandra Cisneros was born in 1954 in the Latino section of Chicago (Encarta 1).
Cisneros is an "American novelist, short-story writer, essayist, and poet (Encarta 1)."
Her works have brought the perspective of the Mexican American woman into the "mainstream
of literary feminism (Encarta 1)." She earned her Bachelor's Degree from Loyola University
in 1976 and her Master's Degree from the University of Iowa in 1978 (Encarta 1). The House
on Mango Street is Cisneros' first novel, and "is her most critically acclaimed (Encarta
1)." The novel is constructed with a "series of short interconnected chapters (Encarta
1)." Cisneros writes of the "hopes, desires, and disillusionments of a young writer
growing up in a large city (Encarta 1)." After reading The House on Mango Street, the
reader is left with a greater sense of the everyday oppressions the "roles created for
women in Hispanic society (Encarta 1)." Cisneros decides to accept the oppression as part
of culture, but also detach from this view by telling women, old and young alike, to find
their own independence. Cisneros uses Esperanza as a vehicle to express the power of
womanhood and determination to reach certain goals.


In "Boys and Girls," Cisneros introduces a gender separation that dominates Esperanza's
experiences. Esperanza is dissatisfied that she and her younger sister Nenny are paired as
playmates; Nenny is "too young to be my friend (Cisneros 8)."


Esperanza is dependent on her childhood and is like "a red balloon, a red balloon tied to
an anchor (Cisneros 9)." This description reveals that Esperanza singles herself out of
her differences, of which she seems keenly aware. She also considers her differences as a
source of isolation, as she floats in the sky for all to see. She longs to escape, much
like a helium balloon. The anchor hinders her flight, similar to the confines that her
granted by her society. Cisneros supplies Esperanza with a small voice, but also with a
tone of wishful thinking, which gives her the ability to be powerful.


Continues for 3 more pages >>




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