Women in “The House on Mango Street”

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A female is not weak nor fragile, she is strong and all she needs is a little bit of love. In the novella The House on Mango Street Cisneros uses the motif trapped. Most of the females in The House On Mango Street feel imprisoned by the ones they love most and restricted from living their own life. This is shown in the vignettes Sally, What Sally Said, Marin and Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays. She uses the vignettes to prove that the theme is no female should be trapped, hurt, or told what to do just to please a male.

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Sally was once the beautiful popular girl that every girl wanted to be, and every boy wanted, but no Sally is nothing more than a broken soul. Esperanza notices that Sally is not the girl from yesterday. sally [does not] laugh… look[s] at her feet and walks to the house [she] cannot come out from (Cisneros 82). This shows that Sally is being emotionally and physically trapped by her own father. When sally goes over to Esperanza house and tells her that her dad saw her with a boy, he just went crazy, he forgot he was her father between the buckle and the belt (Cisneros 93), Her own father gets so mad that he just beats without feeling any remorse. Cisneros shows that the motif trapped in sally vignettes by the cycle of abuse.

Marin is just a girl waiting for a miracle to happen to free her from her problems. Marin boyfriend lives in Puerto Rico and they are going to get married when she is back in Puerto Rico she says he [does not] [have] a job yet (Cisneros 26) even though she is the one earning money and saving it for them both. Marin has changed right in front of Ezperanza eyes she just sits in front of the house because she cannot leave because of her aunt, but at night Marin, under the streetlight, dancing by herself… is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life (Cisneros 27) Marin is selling herself to solve her money problems just to be with her boyfriend. Marin is trapped in her own money problems just to go to Puerto Rico and be with her boyfriend.

Many young women just want to do what they want to without a man telling them what to do. Cisneros uses the vignette Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice On Tuesdays to show that women want to be themselves. Rafaela a beautiful woman still young but getting old from leaning out the window so much, gets locked indoors (Cisneros 79), because her husband thinks she will run away because of her beauty. Her husband leaves her while he goes and plays dominoes even though Rafaela wishes she could go [out] there and dance before she get[s] old (Cisneros 79). All Rafaela wants to do is dance because even she knows she is coming of age from being stuck in the house all the time. At the end of the vignette Ezperanza pities Rafaela and does not want to end up like her. Rafaela is being held hostage in her own house by her lover and cannot escape because she is too beautiful.

The motif in The House On Mango Street is trapped. The women on mango street feel like they are prisoners in their own houses from Sally that can’t leave her house, Marin cannot leave her house also, and Rafaela locked in her own house. The theme Cisneros was trying to get across was that no female should be trapped, hurt, or told what to do just to please a male. Sally goes home and gets beaten to please her father, Marin works and sells herself to solve money problems for her boyfriend, Rafaela gets locked in her house and cannot leave by her husband. These women are being kept enclosed in their own houses just to please a male because back in the days a woman needed a male to survive, it was expected, and these women are affected by this. They should learn that a male is not needed, and they should learn to be independent and fight for their rights.”

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Women in "The House on Mango Street". (2019, Jun 10). Retrieved December 1, 2022 , from

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