May 10, 2014
The House on Mango Street Literary Essay
The House on Mango Street is about a young Latina girl who lives in a Mexican neighborhood in Chicago; tells about her times there and how she grows as a person and as a young independent woman! Throughout her journey we are able to read Esperanza's thoughts firsthand as they happen. Although, not very detailed the* vignettes capture the wondrous imaginative mind and the point of view of a young girl. Esperanza is a free spirit, who dreams big. She is always striving to better herself and reflects being held down by the people around her. The only influential women in her life haven't been very independent and are conformists, almost the opposite of Esperanza. While many people differ from her, there are some qualities of other women in her life like her mama and her great grandma that are similar to her own characteristics. Despite differences or similarities between Esperanza and the other female influences in her life, she will follow her dreams based on what she, and nobody else, wants.
Esperanza, the free spirit, has big hopes and dreams for her future. She is smart and makes excellent grades. She is very passionate about writing and plans to use that artistry as a way to get free from her undesirable situation. From the get-go one is able to see the non-conformist attitude exuding from young Esperanza's tone. Her main goal is freedom. She observes all of the women in her journey, and is very subjective and straightforward when giving her opinions about them. She rejects the idea of relying on others and never wants to be a "woman by the window" like so many women she's met and heard of, including the woman she's named after.
The women of the barrio almost have an unwritten rule or pre-destined path to follow: get married young and live your life as a wife and mom, the end. Being a housewife was good enough for everyone except for Esperanza who wants to first better so she doesn't see freedom through men and love; she merely he sees another jail to live in. No, instead Esperanza see's freedom in education. Her writing is a way to get out. Women such as Marin show a lack in independence, “Marin says that if she stays here next year, she’s going to get a real job downtown because that’s where the best jobs are, since you always get to look beautiful and get to wear nice clothes and can meet someone in the subway who might marry you and take you to live in a big house far away.” (110) This shows Marin dependence on men, and getting married as a free ticket in to the “good life”. Just before this quote she was talking about her boyfriend being back home, and her living with him possibly. This sends the message that she relies heavily on a man, or at least wants to, despite the fact of her having a job. She’s trapped now, and if she follows her ‘dream’ she will still be trapped, in Esperanza’s eyes. The trend follows through with almost every other female character in the Novella, and the oppressors are always male. Esperanza resents depending on others and she hates the idea of being limited.
Esperanza shares some qualities with other female characters such as her Great Grandma, “My great-grandmother. I would’ve liked to have known her, a wild horse of a woman, so wild she wouldn’t marry....the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow." (78). This shows how her Great Grandma is similar to Esperanza in that she didn’t WANT to get married. Minerva is an excellent example, of someone who strays from the status quo and is intelligent, although she is still in a prison, in a way, with her abusive husband, who is gone, and her children; she uses her