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The House on Mango Street
Transcript of The House on Mango Street
By: Sandra Cisneros
Annmarie, Brianna, Peyton, and Alexis
English 9 Period 3
September 28 2014
A Woman's Place
The House on Mango Street,
the author conveys a message of disapproval that in everyday society, women were controlled, subordinate to, and dependent on males, allowed no freedom, given no opportunities, judged solely on appearances, and forced to complete domestic duties; it's disappointing that many of these inequalities between males and females are still prominent in society today.
"Minerva writes poems"
"Rafaela who drinks coconut & papaya juice on Tuesdays"
" Rafaela leans out the window and leans on her elbow and dreams her hair is like Rapunzel's" Pg 79
Significance - Rafaela wishes to be free from the room which is keeping her locked away from the world.(freedom)
Significance - " ... and wishes there were sweeter drinks, not bitter like an empty room," Pg 80
Rafaela still describes how she wants to get out of the room.(freedom)
Significance - "and always there is someone offering sweeter drinks, someone promising to keep them on a silver string." Pg 80
Esperanza understands that Marin believes her life will change when she enters a relationship with a man. Marin knows that she can use her beauty and physical attractiveness to get out of Mango Street, a place she doesn't like. Esperanza appears to relate to Marin because she says "I know." Esperanza also has dreams of changing her life and exploring beyond Mango Street. However, while Marin is stuck "singing the same song," Esperanza seems more inclined to make change happen, rather than wait for "someone to change her life." She does not, then, share Marin's view of a woman's place.
"Minerva cries because her luck is unlucky. Every night and everyday. And prays."(p. 84)
Significance -> Minerva is struggling and having a hard time.
"She has many troubles, but the big one is her husband who left and keeps leaving."(p. 85)
Significance -> Each time Minerva's husband leaves, it has a huge effect on her.
"...same story. Next week she comes over black and blue and asks what can she do?"(p. 85)
Singnificance -> Minerva's husband has beeen beating her every time he leaves her and she doesn't know what to do about it.
"Alicia Who Sees Mice"
Through this vignette describing the dispute between Alicia and her father, the author describes the view men had on the roles of women throughout her childhood. Clearly, Esperanza knew about how Alicia's father treated her: scolding her for focusing on her studies and forcing her to complete her domestic duties as the woman of the house. This is likely how Esperanza learned that a woman's place is considered to be as domestic workers who cook and clean for their family; completely subordinate to their husbands and fathers, and forced to give up their own dreams to care for others.
"Marin, under the streetlight, dancing by herself, is singing the same song somewhere. I know. Is waiting for a car to stop, for a star to fall, someone to change her life." (p. 27)
A falling star is something you wish upon. It symbolizes Marin's dependency on something outside herself to change her life.
" What matters, Marin says, is for the boys to see us and for us to see them." (p. 27)
Marin's emphasis on finding a man, establishing that it is "what matters," shows her view that women need to find and marry a man in life. It also portrays how much she values her appearance. Her character is an example of the typical beliefs members of Esperanza's society had about women.
"...she's going to get a real job downtown...since you always get to look beauitiful... and can meet someone in the subway who might marry you and take you to live in a big house far away." (p. 26)
Even Marin's job selection is driven by her desire to meet a man, rather than finding something she is good at and passionate about, or an employment option that will help her become successful. This shows her desire to be taken care of by a man, and supports the societal belief that women are dependent on males and unable to take care of or think for themselves.
Sally makes it seem like looking
beauitiful is the most important thing
to focus on to impress other people.
Seeing how Sally looks makes
Esperanza feel bad about her own
appearance. This portrays how young girls were negatively impacted by being judged based on their physical characteristics, rather than on their personalities or smarts. Sally makes it seem like looking beautiful is the most important thing to people and seeing how Sally looks fosters Esperanza's bad feelings about herself.
"The boys at school think she's beautiful" (p. 81)
This explains why Sally has attracted the attention of boys; not due to her personality or smarts, but rather her beauty in accordance with the societal view that women should only be valued for their beauty.
"Sally, do you sometimes wish you didn't have to go home? Do you wish your feet would one day keep walking and take you far away from Mango Street?" (p. 82)
Esperanza's wondering about Sally's hidden dreams reveals her wish to leave Mango Street as well to find something that makes her happy. It also suggests that pretty girls had thoughts non-related to concerns about their appearance, in contrast to typical societal views about the intelligence of women.
"You could go to sleep and wake up and never have to think about who likes and doesn't like you" (p. 83)
This implies that due to a woman's place in society, girls were plagued with constant worries about their appearance; something Esperanza clearly didn't agree with and wanted to avoid.
"Beautiful and Cruel"
"I am an ugly daughter. I am the one nobody comes for."(p. 88)
This quote helps the readers understand Esperanza's opinion of herself. Clearly, society's outlook
on the role of women has influenced Esperanza and her assumptions that boys, or potential husbands
would not be attracted to her due to her lack of beauty.
"She wants things all her own, to pick and choose. Nenny has pretty eyes and it's easy to talk
that way if you are pretty."(p. 88)
Esperanza expresses the slight jealousy she has of her sister, and pretty girls in general, due to her
opinion that they have more freedom and authority to "pick and choose," due to a woman's place
"I have decided not to grow-up tame like the others...I am one who leaves the table, with out putting back the chair or picking up the plate."(p. 89)
This describes one of Esperanza's monumental choices, through her decision to grow up independent in pursuit of her dreams, unlike "other girls". Through the metaphor included in this quote, Esperanza communicates this decision and her wish to leave "the table" or Mango street, without "putting back the chair," or looking back to question her bold choice
"Rafaela leans out the window and leans on her elbow and dreams her hair is like Rapunzel's..." (p. 79)
Rafaela demonstrates how women were prevented from going after their dreams due to their place in society as dependents completely controlled by men.
".....and wishes there were sweeter drinks, not bitter like an empty room..." (p. 80)
Again, this portrays how miserable women were in their restricted role. Rafaela wishes for freedom from the room and from the reign of her husband, and hopes to one day find a better life.
"...and always there is someone offering sweeter drinks, someone promising to keep them on a silver string." (p. 80)
Some women were treated as equals of males, but most were promised happy lives by their husbands, only to be restricted and deprived of their rights.
"...gets locked indoors because her husband is afraid Rafaela will run a way since she is too beautiful to look at." (p. 79)
This portrays how men thought of their wives as pieces of property. They wanted to protect them and keep them all to themselves, but only due to their beauty, not because they truly loved them and their personalities.
" Rafaela who drinks coconut & papaya Juice on Tuesdays"
"...a woman's place is sleeping so she can wake up early with the tortilla star..." (p. 31)
Alicia's father describes the common belief that a woman's place in society is caring for her family. "Tortilla star" symbolizes the tortillas, and other types of foods, that women are expected to make as the primary chefs of their families.
"Alicia, who inherited her mother's rolling pin and sleepiness, is young and smart and studies for the first time at the university...she doesn't want to spend her whole life in a factory or behind a rolling pin." (p. 31)
This describes the job Alicia is left to fill after her mother passes away in accordance with typical societal views of the roles of females. It also expresses the wish of many aspiring, talented young girls, such as Esperanza, to receive a higher level of collegiate education to escape the typical female fate, as exemplified by Alicia's studies.
"...her father says, you're just imagining...Alicia...is afraid of nothing except four legged fur, an fathers." (p. 32)
The words "you're just imagining," demonstrate how unintelligent Alicia's father believes his daughter is: the typical assumption of the level of a woman's intelligence. This quote also portrays Alicia's fear of her father, demonstrating how women were hesitant to stand up to males in society to fight for their freedom or rights.
This short vingette clearly communicates Esperanza's
This short vignette clearly communicates
Esperanza's understanding of a woman's
role in society as a sort of trophy for
men, valued for and judged solely on their
beauty. Esperanza explains how she doesn't want to fall into this role or into a relationship as a wife subordinate to her husband. Though she admires the beauty of some girls, above all, she wants to be free and independent.
Sally, an acquaintance of Esperanza, gets married quite young. Her husband does not let her do anything, and she is afraid to act without his permission. This demonstrates the typical subordinate relationship between wives and their husbands, due to the popular beliefs about a woman's place in society. This influences Esperanza's ideas about marriage, as she believes that Sally married to escape from her life on Mango Street, not because she was in love.
"She sits at home because she is afraid to go outside without his permission." (p102)
This supports that Sally does exactly what her husband orders. Clearly, her husband believes that
women are supposed to be "robots" or servants of their husbands, completely under their control.
He seems to assume that women do not have minds of their own, in accordance with typical opinions
of female intelligence, as Sally is not even allowed to go outside without him getting upset.
"...he doesn't like her friends so nobody gets to visit unless he is working." (p102)
This phrase demonstrates how Sally's husband tries to control her, attempting to make all of her decisions for her even in regard to the people she chooses to associate with. He restricts her independence nearly completely. This is an example of the complete control husbands exercised over their wives; a common aspect of a woman's place in society, and something Esperanza hoped to avoid.
"She has her husband and her house now..." (p102)
This quote about Sally demonstrated the common belief that females were dependent on their husbands, and relied on them to provide for them. People, like Sally, believed that women could not be happy or complete without a husband, but Esperanza did not agree with this view of a woman's place. She wanted to be independent, self-sufficient, and work to achieve her own dreams without the restrictions of having a husband.
"Minerva Writes Poems"
Minerva's sad story demonstrates the difficult lives women faced under common societal interpretations of their roles. Esperanza was significantly influenced by Minerva's experiences; her decision to be independent was probably an attempt to avoid a similar fate.
"Minerva cries because her luck is unlucky. Every night and every day.
And prays." (p. 84)
This portrays the struggles that Minerva faced, and the difficulty she
had coping with them. This misery was the result of her poor relationship
with her husband, and early entry into motherhood. This is an example
of the difficulties that women went through due to their lack of rights in
accordance with societal views.
"She has many troubles, but the biggest one is her husband who left and keeps leaving." (p. 85)
Minerva's husband's constant leaving is making her life miserable. However, as women were considered subordinate to men, she had no opportunity to escape this terrible relationship.
"...same story. Next week she comes over black and blue and asks what can she do?" (p. 85)
After Minerva attempted to stand up to her husband, their relationship became even worse as he began to abuse her. In complete desperation and despair, she reached out to Esperanza's family for help. However, none of them knew how to avoid the patriarchy of their society to rescue Minerva. Esperanza's exposure to Minerva's misery made her want to avoid a similar fate, leading to her decision to remain independent.
An example in today's society...
The Barbie doll is designed with what society considers an "ideal" figure for women, though it is extremely unrealistic and far-fetched from the body of average females. As a popular toy for young female children, Barbie dolls instill this image of the "perfect" body type into the minds of young girls, and supports the importance of physical looks or appearances. Rather than encouraging little girls to work hard to pursue their dreams, explore, and expand their knowledge, this classic toy continues to promote the idea that women should be judged solely on their appearnce.
A second Example in Today's Society...
Title IX, a law passed in 1972 with the intention to help
create equal opportunities for women in higher education, athletics, and the work place, has significantly helped "level the playing field" for females. However, though a lot of progress has been made, women still frequently face inequalities in these aspects of society and more work needs to be done to ensure that all opportunities are equal between men and women.
When the singer asks, "will you still love me when I am no longer young and beautiful," it demonstrates her understanding of a woman's place, and the role appearance plays in determining a female's value. The singer worries that when she becomes older and less beautiful her husband might not love her anymore. This portrays a common female worry due to societal beliefs about the importance of a female's appearance. This modern song proves that women are still typically judged based upon their physical features, rather than their intelligence or personality.
A Final Real-World Connection...
" A woman's place in public is to sit beside her husband, be silent, and be sure her hat is on straight." ~ Bess Truman
This quotation represents the older societal view of women expressed throughout this book. The author describes how women were controlled by, and considered subordinate to males, and thus deprived of freedom, rights, and equal opportunities. She makes her disapproval of the fact that women were judged solely on their appearances and forced to complete domestic duties very clear. Based on her childhood experiences with society's ideas about a "woman's place," she decides to remain independent and works hard to achieve her dreams despite common beliefs about the ways females should behave.
"In our society, the women who break down barriers are those who ignore limits." ~ Arnold Schwarzenegger
Though many female activists have worked hard to improve conditions and opportunities for women, it is disappointing that throughout the world, women and men are still treated unequally, and receive varying levels of opportunities.
“How important it is to recognize and celebrate our heroes and she-roes.” ~ Maya Angelou
However, things are looking up for females. Now women generally have the freedom to pursue their dreams. Everyday, powerful women are chipping away at gender-inequality barriers even further. Opportunities for women will continue to grow overtime, and it is becoming more of a matter of choice for females; it is up to young girls and women to choose how to pursue new opportunities, not only for the sake of achieving their own dreams, but to honor the efforts of the females who worked so hard to "level the playing field" for women.
Title IX: Game On!
A final Media Connection...
A Final thought...
The great gatsby-- "Young and Beautiful" By: Lana Del Rey
Through this vignette, Esperanza describes how women were treated, specifically by their husbands, and their wish to be free through Rafaela's longing.