House On Mango Street (994 words) Essay

House On Mango Street
As a young girl, Esperanza is a young girl who looks at life from experience of
living in poverty, where many do not question their experience. She is a shy,
but very bright girl. She dreams of the perfect home, with beautiful flowers and
a room for everyone. When she moves to the house of Mango Street, reality is so
different than the dream. In this story, hope (Esperanza) sustains tragedy. The
house she dreamed of was another on. It was one of her own. One where she did
not have to share a bedroom with everyone. That included her mother, father and
two siblings. The run down tiny house has “bricks crumbling in
places”. The one she dreamed of had a great big yard, trees and ‘grass
growing without a fence’. She did not want to abandon where she came from, but
she knew she wanted to be free of everything that life on Mango Street brought.

“They will not know I have gone away to come back. For the ones I have left
behind”. She is committed to her roots on Mango Street. We witness
Esperanza blossoming from a innocent, shy girl to one who witnesses much, but
all of this makes her strong and clear about her desires for her life. What she
sees is the male domination (machismo), violence and rape. The violence in the
home was ordinary to those that lived there and Esperanza knew this. It didn’t
make Sally stronger. Sally is abused by her father “He never hit me
hard”, as her mom tends to her wounds. Sally eventually leaves home and
gets married at a young age. She ends being abused, instead by the fist, by mind
control. Her new husband treats her like a prisoner in her home. “She sits
at become afraid to go outside”. The leave home, she would need permission.

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She evolves from a victim of child abuse to a slave-like wife. Esperanza sees
this despair throughout her story. In “My Name, “She looked out the
window her whole life, they way so many women sit, with their sadness on an
elbow”. Abuse to Rafaela, again subtle because she does not go out, in fear
of husband. Poverty on Loomis, Keeler and Paulina; poverty is a way of life. The
impact is for all generations, the parents who cannot get out, the children that
see it and the little ones who cannot know any better. The opportunities are
limited in the barrio. Esperanza was embarrassed when she pointed to her house
“there”. “There?”, as if there was no place for a girl to
live. But survival is instinctive and there is a certain amount of barrio pride
“Those who don’t know any better come into our neighborhood scared. They
think we are dangerous. They think we will attack them with shiny knives. They
are stupid people who are lost and got here by mistake.” The victim of
being called a “rice sandwich”. Hurt by the sister superior as she
points to a row of ugly houses reminding Esperanza of the sin of being poor.

Machismo is something seen in the domestic situations throughout Hispanic
people. The violence, the subservience that is expected and the men believe the
women are second and are second class citizens. There role is to be domestic
housekeepers and to birth children. Alicia makes tortillas for her father. When
Esperanza is raped, she is again taught of the power of (some) men. But
throughout her growth Esperanza gets very clear that she will not live as those
around she sees. She wants independence. She knew getting out would help her
achieve her dreams. She was motivated but everything she experiences. She learns
about trust when Sally told her the circus would be fun, only to be raped. Her
shyness (eating alone in the company lunchroom), and about being gullible. In
Cathy Queen of hearts, Cathy says, “father will have to fly France and find
her cousin and inherit the house.” She believes that everything will be
good. But she feels incredibly stupid for not for not knowing better. But she
does learn. When she learns that the box, is a music box. She is ashamed for not
knowing. Despite all this, she knows enough to know that a better life is the
live she will create. She sees herself as scrawny and unattractive. “Skinny
necks and pointed elbows like mine… don’t belong here, but are here”. But
the metaphor for the tress, she will grow despite the concrete and ‘will not
forget to reach’. She is a determined young woman with ‘esparenze’ and she will
lay new roots and you are convinced she will not only make it, but will return
for the others. Cisneros allows us to see why women need to dream and create the
good reality that they are capable of living. She addresses oppression, family
and religious roles and is clear about the 2nd class status of women, but she
knows there is more out there. I was blessed, having been raised in a
financially rich and very sheltered environment. I work in a city where poverty
is present, today and witness families living together, girls and boys
supporting their parents, sending money south of the border, all to survive. No
one complains, but there is clearly a vicious cycle, as the family is so
important, many young one aspire to have families and do. They do no realize how
expensive life is until they are older, and then their little ones are placed in
the same cycle. I did experience and old fashioned father who was very
dominating and did not treat girls very respectfully. It was very difficult to
gain his respect and approval, if that is possible. I learned that men make the
decisions and women are not to doubt the man. We were never allowed to say no,
or ask why. There was must physical abuse, as a way to control us. As an adult I
am sensitive to the fact that my father knew no better, even thought he scars
are still there. This story, as I read it again and again, made me feel that
many girls are dreamers and have their innocence shattered by the reality of
life. Whether rich or poor, belief systems can be shattered, but not hopes.


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