In today’s society there are many social problems that everyone tends to face. People are often treated as if they are inferior to others based on different things such as race, ethnicity, and even gender. In the story the House on Mango Street, the author, Sandra Cisneros addresses these issues. Throughout the story, Cisneros thoroughly explains and displays how these conflicts effect the public.
This story is written through the perspective of a young women, Esperanza, who is growing up in a low-class neighborhood. Cisneros indicates the problems with their society expectations including: there expectations of women and how they are treated, the discrimination that is based on their social classes, and the prejudices because of a person’s ethnicity/race. T
he House of Mango Streets views on society are based on a hierarchy. The story displays how women are looked upon as subordinates in a hierarchical society. In this book, Esperanza explains what women and young girls are subjected to, in the chapter “What Sally Says” Esperanza explains the assault that Sally goes through by her own father. Esperanza states, “But Sally doesn’t tell about that time he hit her with his hands just like a dog, she said, like if I was an animal. He thinks I’m going to run away like his sisters who made the family ashamed. Just because I’m a daughter, and then she doesn’t say.” In order to get away from this life and escape her father’s wrath Sally feels as if she needs to get married young and move on into another lifestyle.
Esperanza explains her views on this by stating,“Sally got married like we knew she would, young and not ready but just the same. She met a marshmallow salesman at a school bazaar, and she married him in another state where it’s legal to get married before eighth grade. She has her husband and her house now, her pillowcases and her plates. She says she’s in love, but I think she did it to escape.” The discrimination based on their social classes is shown in more ways than one.
In “The House on Mango Street” people are treated according to their wealth evidently. Outsiders often look down upon Esperanza and her peers with no reason, except, that they live differently because of the fact that they have less money. In one part of the story Esperanza talks about how strangers percept their world, by saying, “ Those who don’t know any better come into our neighborhood scared. They think that we’re dangerous. They think we will attack them with shiny knives. They are stupid people who are lost and get here by mistake.”
This comes to show how outsiders often have misconceptions about people who are different from them and are more so often too quick to judge. This suggestion is shown again when Esperanza is talking to a nun and the nun asks, “ Where do you live?” And Esperanza points it out and then the nun goes to judge and says “There?” In a rude manner that belittles Esperanza and makes Esperanza feel very embarrassed for being proud that her family is not renting but owns a house for once.