The Bell Jar

Contrasting Mother Figures in The House on Mango Street and The Bell Jar 11th Grade

In the novels The House on Mango Street and The Bell Jar, the two authors, Sandra Cisneros and Sylvia Plath show very contrasting motherly figures. Both novels are telling the general story of the respective authors through pseudonyms, Esperanza and Esther. Esther in the Bell Jar’s mother, Mrs Greenwood is used by Plath to dampen Esther’s dreams of going further than what the societal expectations are. The House on Mango Street is a vignette-styled novel based in a 1980’s Chicagoan Latino community. The story follows Esperanza along the time span of approximately a year. In The House on Mango Street Esperanza has many maternal figures including her Aunt Lupe and her Mother. These two characters are used by Cisneros to support Esperanza in her plights to escape her ‘latina destiny’. Both characters use rather tender methods to make Esperanza go on her own path.

Cisneros uses Esperanza’s Mother to influence and inspire Esperanza into taking the path that will leave Mango Street - the opposite of the stereotypical life a woman in that community must lead. It is alluded implicitly stated to by Cisneros that Esperanza’s Mother could have left the ‘destiny’ of getting married too young and escaping this vicious cycle of sorts....

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