House on Mango Street

The Role of Gender and Ethnicity in The House on Mango Street College

In Sandra Cisneros’ work The House on Mango Street, young Esperanza must face the trials and tribulations that accompany growing up. This daunting task is made all the more difficult by society’s views of her race and gender. As a teenage Latina girl living on Mango Street, Esperanza is expected to become a cookie-cutter version of the women she is exposed to on a daily basis. This, however, is not the life that Esperanza has in mind for herself. Three prominent issues seem to plague the women of Mango Street: an excess of loneliness (which in turn leads to other excesses), the complete loss of potential, and an extreme distrust of men. These problems seem to give Esperanza even more motivation to leave Mango Street and follow her own path.

A dominant issue that seems to affect several women on Mango Street is an extreme feeling of loneliness. This is fueled by several factors. One of these factors is abandonment. Rosa Vargas must deal with this horrible feeling every day of her life due to her husband’s running out on the family: “They are bad those Vargases, and how can they help it with only one mother who is tired all the time…and who cries every day for the man who left without even leaving a dollar for bologna or a note...

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