Body Paragraph 2: TS: Cisneros uses oppressive male characters to represent the idea of a totalitarian government within the community, and the many restrictions to freedom that women are given in the community.P1: Rafaela Who Drinks…: Rafaela’s lifestyle represents that of a woman who has been trapped into the female stereotype and controlled by an abusive and neglectful husband. She is literally trapped in her own house, as her husband locks her in, “Rafaela who is still young but getting old from leaning out the window so much, gets locked indoors because her husband is afraid Rafaela will run away.”, “Rafaela leans out the window and leans on her elbow and dreams her hair is like Rapunzel’s.” – Rafaela’s actions are dictated by her husband, and yet she still longs for something more. Her leaning by the window is an allusion to Rapunzel trapped in the tower before she was rescued, only in this community no one is coming to save Rafaela.P2: Linoleum Roses: The idea of a woman sitting by the window is ridiculed, as Sally cannot even do that under her husband’s control. Her hopes for a loving husband have been destroyed and replaced by a man who restricts her freedom and makes her afraid to voice her true thoughts.
“She says she is in love, but I think she did it to escape.”, “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.”, “She sits at home because she is afraid to go outside without his permission.” – Sally, although newly married, is already experiencing what many other women in the community’s lives are like.
Her being afraid to even leave the house strengthens the idea that she has no free will, and her actions are influenced heavily by her husband.P3: No Speak English: Mamacita’s lifestyle and her restriction to the household, due to her size and her husband’s control of her, is another representation of a man’s grip on the actions of a woman in the community and strengthens the representation of men as the form of a totalitarian government in the community. “Whatever her reasons, whether she is fat, or can’t climb the stairs, or is afraid of English, she won’t come down.”, “She sits all dat by the window and plays the Spanish radio…”, “Sometimes the man gets disgusted. He starts screaming and you can hear it all the way down the street.” – Mamacita being afraid of “English” could be symbolism for the fact that if she disobeys her husband he will scream at her in English, therefore she has associated English with her husband’s rage.Body Paragraph 3:TS: Cisneros enhances the idea of the dystopian elements within the community by presenting characters with a strong desire to escape and find a better life than the ones they lead here.P1: Cathy the Queen of Cats: Cathy’s desire to leave Mango Street and her dreams of moving to France display the idea that the community and living on Mango Street is undesirable.
“That’s when we move away. Got to. Then as if she forgot I just moved in, she says the neighborhood is getting bad.”, “Cathy’s father will have to fly to France one day and find her great great distant grand cousin on her father’s side and inherit the family house.”, “In the meantime they’ll just have to move a little farther north from Mango Street.
” – Cathy’s determination and confidence that she will move away from Mango Street without any hesitation suggest that she is not fond of the neighborhood. Her mentioning that the neighborhood is getting bad is also direct evidence that the community is undesirable.P2: Marin: Marin believes that she will move away from Mango Street and live with her boyfriend in Puerto Rico, however as time goes by she realises that she has become trapped in Mango Street, which only increases her desire to leave Mango Street. “Marin’s boyfriend is in Puerto Rico. She shows us his letters and makes us promise not to tell anybody they’re getting married when she goes back to P.R.
“, “Marin says that if she stays here next year, she’s going to get a real job downtown because that’s where the best jobs are, since you always get to look beautiful and et to wear nice clothes and can meet someone in the subway who might marry you and take you to live in a big house far away.”, “Marin, under the streetlight, dancing by herself, is singing the same song somewhere. I know. Is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life.
” – Marin waiting for “a star to fall” is an allusion to the shooting star that grants wishes in old folklore, which implies that Marin’s greatest wish is to leave Mango Street.P3: Alicia Who Sees Mice: Alicia is a character with such devotion to leaving Mango Street that even though she has taken up her mother’s place in the household she is still willing to work towards leaving Mango Street, even though her father insists that she must submit to the female stereotype and stay in the kitchen making tortilla wraps. “A woman’s place is sleeping so she can wake up early with the tortilla star…”, “Alicia, who inherited her mama’s rolling pin and sleepiness, is young and smart and studies for the first time at the university”, “A woman’s place is sleeping so she can wake up early with the tortilla star…”, “Two trains and a bus, because she doesn’t want to spend her whole life in a factory or behind a rolling pin.” – The idea of her spending her whole life behind a rolling pin or a factory indicates the two possible outcomes when living in Mango Street, both of which are regarded as undesirable.Conclusion:Cisneros’ use of the female stereotype, oppressive male characters, and the desire to escape, to represent dystopian elements in ‘The House On Mango Street’ strengthen the meaningfulness of Esperanza’s ability to create a better life for herself and to escape the dystopia-like Mango Street.