Essay on Themes of House on Mango Street, and The Bluest Eye
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Disturbing Themes of House on Mango Street, and The Bluest Eye
Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago and grew up in Illinois, the only girl in a family of seven. Cisneros is noted for her collection of poems and books that concentrate on the Chicana experience in the United States. In her writing, 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 Chicanas, their relationships with their families, their religion, their art, and their politics. Toni Morrison, born as Chloe Anthony Wofford in Ohio in 1931 changed her name because it was hard for people to pronounce it. She was the second of four children, and both of her parents migrated from the South. Morrison is best noted for her novels, short fiction, being a lecturer, teacher and public servant. She writes using deft language and her lyrical writing, exploring the African-American middle classes and folk culture.
Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street, written in 1984, and Toni Morrison’s The Bluest Eye, first published in 1970, are both aimed at adolescent audiences but deal with deep, often disturbing themes about serious social conditions and their effects on children. Both books are told in the first person; both narrators are young girls, living in destitute neighborhoods, who witness the harsh realities of life for those who are poor, abused, and hopeless, although the narrators themselves manage to survive their tough environments with their wits and strength intact. The books are more than simple literary exercises written merely to amuse or delight their audiences.
Both authors attempt to provok...
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Of the two books, Morrison’s is by far the more effective for both adolescent and adult audiences. Its characters and settings are fully, painstakingly drawn, it has a powerful thought-provoking theme, and it has a clear plot which can inspire its audience to laugh or cry. A reader can get deep into the minds and actions of the characters as well as the environment they live in in The Bluest Eye and find a series of newspaper articles, sometimes vaguely touching or thought-provoking, capable, perhaps, of inspiring discussions about some of the issues it touches on, but essentially too minimal and impersonal to inspire any deep emotional reaction in it readers.
Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. 1stVintage Contemporaries ed.New York: Vintage Books, 1991.
Morrison, Toni. The Bluest Eye. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, Inc., 1993.