Comparing the Women of House on Mango Street and Bread Givers

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The Women of House on Mango Street and Bread Givers Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago and grew up in Illinois. She was the only girl in a family of seven. Cisneros is noted for her collection of poems and books that concentrate on the Chicano experience in the United States. In her writings, Cisneros explores and transcends borders of location, ethnicity, gender and language. Cisneros writes in lyrical yet deceptively simple language. She makes the invisible visible by centering on the lives of Chicanos--their relationships with their families, their religion, their art, and their politics. Anzia Yezierska has written two short story collections and four novels about the struggles of Jewish immigrants on New York’s Lower East Side. Yezierska stories explore the subject of characters’ struggling with the disillusioning America of poverty and exploitation while they search for the ‘real’ America of their ideals. She presents the struggles of women against family, religious injunctions, and social-economic obstacles in order to create for herself an independent style. Her stories all incorporate autobiographical components. She was not a master of style, plot development or characterization, but the intensity of feeling and aspiration are evident in her narratives that overrides her imperfections. Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street, written in 1984, and Anzia Yezierska’s Bread Givers, published in 1925, are both aimed at adolescent and adult audiences that deal with deep disturbing themes about serious social conditions and their effects on children as adults. Both books are told in the first person; both narrators are young girls living in destitute neighborhoods; and both young girls witness the harsh realities of life for those who are poor, abused, and hopeless. Although the narrators face these overwhelming obstacles, they manage to survive their tough environments with their wits and strength remaining intact. Esperanza, a Chicano with three sisters and one brother, has had a dream of having her own things since she was ten years old. She lived in a one story flat that Esperanza thought was finally a "real house". Esperanza’s family was poor. Her father barely made enough money to make ends meet. Her mother, a homemaker, had no formal education because she had lacked the courage to rise above the shame of her poverty, and her escape was to quit school. Esperanza felt that she had the desire and courage to invent what she would become.

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