Social Issues in The House on Mango Street

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The House on Mango Street: More than a Story

In today’s world there are countless social problems. People are often treated as an inferior or as if they are less important for many different reasons. In The House on Mango Street, the author Sandra Cisneros addresses these problems. Throughout the story Cisneros does a thorough job explaining and showing how these issues affect the public. This novel is written through the eyes of a young girl, Esperanza, growing up in a poor neighborhood where the lifestyles of the lower class are revealed. Cisneros points out that, in today’s society, the expectation of women and their treatment, discrimination based on poverty, and discrimination because of a person’s ethnicity are the major problems in society.

Sandra Cisneros often shows us how women are treated as subordinates in a patriarchal society. In society the way women are supposed to better themselves is by marrying. Often women marry at a young age which Cisneros condemns in The House on Mango Street by stating that her friend, Sally, should not have gotten married by saying:

Sally got married like we knew she would, young and not ready but married just the same. She met a marshmallow salesman at a school bazaar, and she married him in another state where it’s legal to get married before eighth grade. She has her husband and her house now, her pillowcases and her plates. She says she is in love, but I think she did it to escape. (101)

This excerpt shows how Cisneros believes that she should not have gotten married at a young age when she says that Sally is “young and not ready”. The author also reinforces how women too often get married “to escape”. Esperanza tells us that after the women get married they are suppos...

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...me to think when the cop car pulled in the alley going just as fast. (24)

This quote shows that in their society people often did the wrong thing, but the people did everything with a good intention and that they are not just evil.

Sandra Cisneros ends up conquering the social issues that had oppressed her. The role of a woman was rejected through her remaining independent. By her becoming successful and getting out of poverty the discrimination towards impoverished people is overcome. Lastly, she overcomes the racism by writing about it so that people everywhere can realize that it is wrong. Throughout The House on Mango Street women’s roles and the way they are treated, the judging based upon wealth, and racism are major issues that Esperanza has to work to overcome.

Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1991.
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