The House on Mango Street is a novel by Sandra Cisneros, the plot of which is staged around the life of a 12-year old Mexican girl, Esperanza. Her family moves into their new home on Mango Street in a crowded neighborhood in Chicago. While there, she has to quickly adapt to the harsh circumstances that spark her dreams of leaving the place in future. However, she is able to make friendships with the girls in her neighborhood and in the process she matures both physically and emotionally. The story has the depiction of the theme of women’s responsibility towards each other, and the same is portrayed in both positive and negative light. The essay seeks to establish Esperanza’s mode of interaction with her fellow women and how they take responsibility for each other in the society, whether directly or indirectly.
Sandra Cisneros depicts women in the novel as having the responsibility to inspire each other. The character of Esperanza is nurtured from a tender age of 12, and she has an aspiration to write. Despite having challenges with consistency, her Aunt Lupe relentlessly urges the girl to keep writing, emphasizing that it can liberate her from the new home’s difficulties, both spiritually and mentally. As a result, Esperanza keeps writing and improves significantly over time.
Indirectly, this girl seeks to redefine herself with the goal of rebranding her identity to fit into the society (Cisneros 11). The need for redefinition sets her apart from her family, and she discovers that it is not the best way to achieve her goal of enabling mothers to stand up and take responsibility for each other. Consequently, Esperanza grows the urge for autonomy and sexual awareness, inspired by a movie star, Sally. The girl opts to drop sexuality, as her quest to influence others on the same lacks support from other females. As such, it discourages Esperanza; thus, she focuses on writing, which builds her autonomy while creating an influential direction indirectly for her young friends Lucy and Rachel.
While residing on Mango Street, matrons have little understanding of the idea that they can protect each other. The notion of gender liberty is depicted as far-fetched in their circles as it is evidently clear that they are exploited consistently. For instance, the example is clear when Esperanza calls for help from a woman after a boy had forcibly kissed her friend, only for the “savior” to decline to respond. With this regard, it shows the hopelessness of women to be responsible for each other when in need of defense (Cisneros 92). The blow she experiences over this is that most of the females suffer in silence, observe each other wallowing in dysfunctional marriages and still would not point out such instances. Instead, they expose each other to these vulnerabilities, supporting the conclusion that they are their own worst enemies.
In her quest to redefine herself, Esperanza relates to the issue of matrons being responsible to each other in such a manner that reflects the underlying urge to change the status quo. However, there is lack of support from themselves, and it is incredibly cumbersome to champion the course of enlightening them to protect one another. Hence, there are a lot of efforts needed to be put in to achieve this, but the same shall be futile if these women lack a support system.
Conclusively, the novel The House on Mango Street depicts a challenging situation that sees women not being supportive of a cause that seeks to give them advantage. The character, Esperanza, interacts with fellow matrons in a manner that aims to enlighten their perceptions and urge them to take responsibility for each other. In some instances, her cause is successful; however, in most cases it goes in vain. Thus, it reflects on the challenges that hinder women’s responsibility for each other, both in the novel and in daily life.
Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. Vintage, 2013. Print.