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Separate Worlds

Good Essays
"Boys and girls live in separate worlds" is a statement made by Esperanza, a girl in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, who is learning that women and men have different expectations placed on them by society (Cisneros 8). Coming of Age in Mississippi by Anne Moody and The House on Mango Street are both novels that relate to Anne and Esperanza, two young women realizing the gender prescriptions that society has established for them and the struggle against those roles. Both Esperanza and Anne attempt to go against the normal socialization of females within our society each in her own experiences and time period. Three of the main areas of gender that can be compared as well as contrasted between the two women are power, division of labor, and gender roles.

Esperanza faces many experiences that lead her to believe that to be a woman in her world is not a positive attribute. One telling experience is when she is talking about her grandmother whom she is named after. After denying her grandfather's advancements, the grandmother is kidnapped by him, carried away with a sack over her head to her marriage bed. Esperanza greatly admired her grandmother for her strength and said that her grandmother never forgave her grandfather because "she couldn't be all the things she wanted to be" (Cisneros 11). Esperanza also sees the economic dependence that marriage creates for many women. While one woman cries everyday because her husband left "without leaving a dollar for bologna or a note explaining how come" another is miserable because the husband gets kicked out and is always let back in, regardless of the abuse she suffers at his hands (Cisneros 29, 85). Both domestic and physical abuse is also rampant in the lives ar...

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...duate with a higher education and found something that she could focus on rather than gaining a husband. Esperanza decided early on that she would not take on the burden of her mother and the women before her, merely caring for a husband and raising children. She wanted a house all her own and realized that she could get it autonomously if she strove hard in school and continued to write. Esperanza can possibly speak for Anne and any other woman who refuses to conform to society's idea of gender prescription when she challenges, "I have begun my own quiet war. Simple. Sure. I am one who leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate" (Cisneros 89).

Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

Moody, Anne. Coming of Age in Mississippi. New York: Dell Publishing, 1965.
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