Shirley’s Response to The House on Mango Street
February 12, 2013 in Blog Responses
In The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, I realized that windows seem to be a reoccurring symbol. Windows can be associated with imprisonment and longing for change. These women are confined in their apartment by men, abused and belittled, resulting in a lack freedom and identity. Due to their entrapment, they are prevented from fulfilling their dreams of a brighter future.
In Rafaela who drinks coconut & papaya juice on Tuesdays, Rafaela demonstrates an example of how women were imprisoned in their homes. Esperanza portrays Rafaela in a fairy tale manner- as if Rafaela is watching the neighborhood from her tower. ”Rafaela leans out the window and leans on her elbow and dreams her hair is like Rapunzel’s ” (79). Why did Cisneros choose to describe her in this fairy tale way? Is this a way of escaping reality? Rafaela’s husband locks her in the apartment because he fears she will flee. Why is Rafaela so submissive to her husband?
Sally illustrates another example- at first she is reprimanded by her father because he fears she will run away. Esperanza looks up to Sally and becomes very concern about her overprotective father. To Esperanza, Sally is like a rebel just trying to escape her violent father. But when Sally’s father sees her talking to boy, she is physically abused: “until the way Sally tells it, he just went crazy, he just forgot he was her father between the buckle and the belt” (93). Sally claims she’s in love when she gets married in another state, but Esperanza feels this is her way of escaping Mango Street. I believe her new married life is just as bad as living with her father because now she is dominated by her husband. Her husband doesn’t allow her to talk on the phone, see her friends, nor let her look out the window. Sally is deprived of her freedom and she dares not to leave the house because she fears of what he will do to her. Even though her husband is just as bad as her father- what makes this chapter significant? What does Sally gain from her marriage?