Main Idea Of The House On Mango Street
This small novel filled with many vignettes is titled The House on Mango Street and it is written, Sandra Cisneros. This was published in 1984 and came out with the new covered book in 2009 to celebrate its 25th anniversary. The novel’s main idea revolves around the changes in many different character’s lives and how different all of their lives are even though they are quite similar. Though each vignette being different, they are all told by the same little girl named Esperanza. She starts off describing her life, but then continues to explain everyone else’s and discovers more as she gets to know each one better. Most women have it the hardest beside the men when comparing everyone in the book. Esperanza has a variety of female role models in her life and many are trapped in abusive relationships. Many are waiting for others to change their lives, but may need to end up trying to change things on their own. Through her exploration of conflicts faced by female characters in the novel, Cisneros illustrates not only the hardships women face, but also their power to overcome them.
When Cisneros first introduces the idea of women and their hardships, it is pretty early in the novel. “Until my great-grandfather threw a sack over her head and carried her off. She never forgave him… She looked out the winder her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow,” (page 11). This exemplifies that women are underestimated in marriage and men make it feel like it’s not up to women. It’s almost like the men just chose the women, and then they have no say. This hardship that Esperanza’s great-grandmother had to face is tough. She isn’t happy in her marriage, and never “forgave” her husband for what he did. Being in this situation is hard because Esperanza’s grandmother never chose this life, I’m sure she wanted to go out and do great things, but women are just expected to go along with it, get married, and serve to their husbands for the rest of their lives. “The boys at school think she’s beautiful because her hair is shiny black… when she laughs, she flicks her hair like a satin shawl over her shoulders and laughs. Her father says to be this beautiful is trouble,” (page 39). To why the homeless man thought he could say this to a young girl is outrageous. Women these days aren’t given as much worth as they are, and are treated the same way. Men treat them as objects, and that they could do whatever they want to women, but they cannot and they will not, and this is a very good example of that. But, degrading women and thinking you can ask for a kiss from a minor, or someone you don’t know and forcing them, is unbelievable. For this to be the normal, or just being okay isn’t okay and then women have to deal with that and end up having another unneeded conflict.
Conflicts between women are different, but they all have some type of impact on their lives. Just like the situations Sally has to go through between her abusive father and boys constantly bugging her, many other women go through that. “The boys at school think she’s beautiful because her hair is shiny black… when she laughs, she flicks her hair like a satin shawl over her shoulders and laughs. Her father says to be this beautiful is trouble, “ (page 81). This shows that women are targeted and brought down because of their looks. He isn’t going to let Sally out because of how beautiful she is because he doesn’t want anything to happen to her. Sally still goes to school, though, but she lost her best friend so school isn’t as fun anymore. Sally and other women are treated much differently just because they are women. Sally sometimes feels as if she just wants to keep walking until she finds the perfect house. A house and town that she didn’t need to worry about anything or anyone bullying her, which exemplifies how greatly hurt she is and just how she feels in general. When Sally gets married, all of her dreams of moving away by herself for her own freedom, all goes away. “She is happy, except sometimes her husband gets angry and once he broke the door where his foot went through… Except he won’t let her talk on the telephone. And he doesn’t let her look out the window. And he doesn’t like her friends, so nobody gets to visit her unless he is working,” (page 101-102). When Sally was forced into marriage, it isn’t for her happiness, she wasn’t thought about when this marriage went through. Nothing is up to her and now she absolutely no freedom and is kind of trapped. The only thing she is happy about is that she can buy her own things, and the things she wants because he gives her money. But that shows something because if just being able to buy things you want is the best thing about this marriage, and she can’t see her friends, Sally definitely isn’t happy. And, now that they are married, she belongs to the man, so, him stopping her from looking outside, no phone calls, and no seeing friends, is going to be “normal” and no one will question. The bigger problem is, women in areas of poverty and the lowlands are forced into unhappy marriages a lot more than you would think around the world.
The female role models in esperanza’s life face many challenges as they got throughout their life. Many of them are struggling to change their lives as they are stuck in their reproachful relationships. Some are waiting for someone to come in help them, but the rest are trying to figure it out on their own. As Esperanza sees more about what’s happening with the female characters in her life, she learns about how they face their fearful relationships. As Esperanza uncovers more information, she is also learning how to deal with these kinds of problems which will come in hand if she ever runs into these sorts of things. The House on Mango Sreet portray’s the big idea of women empowerment and how it’s used. The female characters/role models all helped Esperanza in some type of way without even knowing, that impact on Esperanza so young will stick with her for the rest of her life.