The House on Mango Street: More Than Just a Story Essay

The House on Mango Street: More than Just a Story Essay #2 In The House on Mango Street, the author Sandra Cisneros addresses the countless social problems facing the seldom seen lower class. Throughout the story Cisneros does a thorough job explaining and showing how these issues affect the public. This novel is written through the eyes of a young girl, Esperanza, growing up in a poor neighborhood where the lifestyles of the lower class are revealed. Cisneros points out that, in the Latino society, the expectations of women and their treatment, based on ethnicity is a major problem that she feels is wrong.

Sandra Cisneros often shows us how women are treated as subordinates in a patriarchal society. In the way women are expected to better themselves by marrying, and often marry at a young age which Cisneros condemns in The House on Mango Street by stating that her friend, Sally, made a mistake by getting married so young: “Sally got married like we knew she would, young and not ready but married just the same… she married him in another state where it’s legal to get married before eighth grade…. She says she is in love, but I think she did it to escape. (101) This excerpt shows how Cisneros believes that she should not have gotten married at such a young age when she says that Sally is “young and not ready”. The author also reinforces how women too often get married “to escape”. Esperanza tells us that after the women get married they are supposed to stay at home and raise their children, which they often do alone. Besides women’s roles, the way they are treated is also an issue that is addressed in this novel. Esperanza tells us many stories where it is evident that women are treated as possessions and often have little or no say in the affairs of the family.

We will write a custom essay sample on
The House on Mango Street: More Than Just a Story Essay
or any similar topic only for you
Order now

Too often it seems that in Esperanza’s experiences women are beaten by their husbands’ or fathers’. One such example of abuse is when Sally explains to Esperanza why she often has so many bruises. “He never hits me hard” (92), is how Sally tells Esperanza that her father often beats her. During many instances in The House on Mango Street people are treated according to their wealth. People often look down upon Esperanza and her peers with no reason other than their lack of money. During one part of the story Esperanza talks about strangers’ discrimination by saying: “Those who don’t know any better come into our neighborhood scared.

They think we’re dangerous. They think we will attack them with shiny knives. They are stupid people who are lost and got here by mistake. ” (28) Cisneros shows, in this quote, how people often have misconceptions about lower income neighborhoods and are often too quick to judge. In my own experience, regarding this particular type of prejudice, people who are often friendly towards me without previous knowledge, shy away after learning that I reside in a lower income apartment complex, without the means to buy frivolous accessories others seem to pride themselves on.

In this way I can relate to Esperanza’s struggle to find herself in a world that does not accept her challenges. Cisneros illustrates how race and ethnicity are two of the most recognizable discriminations in the thoughts of the characters that show how Hispanics are treated worse simply because they are Hispanic. In my life, I can, again, relate. In southern Texas the ethnic world, it seems, is the exact opposite of Cisneros’. Being white, in a prominently Mexican culture can be just as dangerous as what Cisneros describes. I am often ridiculed and bullied simply for hailing from a non-Mexican country.

An example of this thought process in Mango Street is when Esperanza and her family are moving in and Cathy says, “The neighborhood is getting bad” (13). Right after this Esperanza states, “they’ll just have to move a little farther north from Mango Street, a little farther away every time people like us keep moving in” (13). These two quotes show that even at a young age Cathy was brought up with racist ideals. Often however, the racism worked in the opposite way. People expected less of minorities, so they often act as people expect them to.

For example, there is a Puerto Rican named Louie who has a cousin that showed up one day with a nice Cadillac. After they had each had a few rides Esperanza states: “The seventh time we drove into the alley we heard sirens, real quiet at first, then louder. Louie’s cousin stopped the car right where we were, and said everybody out of the car. Then he took off flooring that car into a yellow blur. We hardly had time to think when the cop car pulled in the alley going just as fast. ” (24) This quote shows that people she knew often did the wrong thing, but always had good intentions and were not as evil as others assumed.

At the end of the book Esperanza ends up conquering her personal oppressions by breaking the traditional role of women and moving away from the house she despises. I believe, however, that this book truly illustrates how much harder, and perhaps impossible it is to abolish prejudice all together. While the ending of this book may give you the warm and fuzzy feeling of “everything’s going to be ok” years later, in our fast paced city, we know better. It is a sobering and inconvenient truth. And Sandra Cisneros’ novel brings it home in a way no one else could.


Hi there, would you like to get such a paper? How about receiving a customized one? Check it out