The House on Mango Street, a fictional novel written by Sandra Cisneros in 2009, takes place in a poor city in Mexico. Esperanza, the narrator and the main character of this novel feels insecure about herself and feels like she doesn’t belong in her neighborhood. The book shows how Esperanza has grown throughout the year. Esperanza maturing from a young self-conscious girl to a strong self-sufficient women. As Esperanza learns new things, she notices the girls and women in her town are concerned about their beauty more than life itself. In their culture the women where taught that you must satisfy a man with your beauty and that looks are the number one priority.Esperanza would like to change the perspective that women have about themselves.
Esperanza, is a young Latina girl that feels like she doesn’t belong in society, but while she is in Mango Street recognizes the girls and boys “live in separate worlds.” Esperanza only has Nenny to socialize with, but is too young to be friends with her and is more of a responsibility than a friend. “Someday I will have a best friend all my own. One I can tell my secrets to. One who will understand my jokes without me having to explain them. Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor (Sandra 9).” Esperanza describes herself as a “red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor,” because she stands out from everyone else in her neighborhood, but is also in isolation from society. Until one day she finally meets two girls named, Rachel and Lucy, she can finally call friends.
As Esperanza encounters new things as she comes across Mango Street she looks at the number of women that sit at their windows. “She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn’t be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza, I have inherited her name, but I don’t want to inherit her place by the window (Sandra 11).” Esperanza’s grandmother was the first women that was trust beside a window. Esperanza knows she doesn’t want to be in the same situation other women have put themselves into. The women sitting in their windows give Esperanza an understating of how women’s decisions effect their future. Esperanza comes to realize that she doesn’t want to put herself in a position of where she’s looking out the window watching other women live there lives, while not living hers.
Esperanza experiences that Mango Street is a male dominated society and how the women are being treated like “second class citizens”. “In the movies there is always one with red lips who is beautiful and cruel. She is the one who drives the men crazy and laughs them all away. Her power is her own. She will not give it away (Sandra 89).” The girls believe that being beautiful is one of the women’s most powerful weapon. Esperanza grows to realize that power doesn’t not come from beauty, but more from independence and strength. Esperanza observes that girls have trouble choosing between power or sexuality.
This story is to show women that there is so much more in life that beauty. The beliefs that women have in the book is if they don’t look beautiful, the women won’t have a man. But Esperanza is different from the other girls, she believes in independence has more power than beauty does.