Restricted Freedom Of Women In Cisneros', The House On Mango Street

976 words - 4 pages

For centuries, a great deal of ethnic groups have been disempowered and persecuted by others. However, one should realize that none are more intense than the oppression of women. In the novel, The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, women living in the Mango Street neighborhood suffer from their restricted freedom. Three such women, Rafaela, Mamacita, and Sally, provide great examples. All try to escape from their dreadful environment. Most of them fail, but at first, Sally seems to succeed in escaping from her father. However, she ends up meeting a husband as equally bad as her father. Ultimately, the men who live with Rafaela, Mamacita, and Sally act as insuperable obstacles that limit the freedom in their women’s lives.
Rafaela provides a good example of how husbands can confine their wives. Rafaela’s husband is afraid that she will run away and thinks his wife is too ‘beautiful’ to go out. As a result, he locks Rafaela indoors, and Rafaela’s only freedom now is to look out the window and ask kids to buy her coconut and papaya juice. Unhappy with this situation, Rafaela wishes for a way to gain her freedom back. “And always there is someone offering sweeter drinks, someone promising to keep them on a silver string” (p. 80). This quote implies that Rafaela wants to escape from her husband. The juice, which she drinks every Tuesday, proves her desire to escape. Coconut and papaya juice are already sweet drinks, but the quote mentions that she wants ‘sweeter’ ones. This means that she wants to move out from Mango Street and dwell in a place where she can have sweeter drinks. She wants to live in a more comfortable and free environment where there is someone that can sincerely care for her.
Like Rafaela’s case, the men in Mamacita’s house limit Mamacita’s freedom. Mamacita’s husband had worked strenuously over the past few years in order to move Mamacita and her child to Mango Street from Mexico. Nevertheless, instead of the satisfaction he expected from his wife about her new house, Mamacita seems to feel discontented about it. “She still sighs for her pink house, and then I think she cries. I would. Sometimes the man gets disgusted. He starts screaming and you can hear it all the way down the street” (p. 77). Mamacita gets extremely nostalgic about her pink house in Mexico. Her complaints make her now-irritated husband to yell and force her to stay in her house on Mango Street. To make matters even worse, her baby boy begins to imitate an English commercial he has heard on television. The book mentions, “… the baby boy, who has begun to talk, starts to sing the Pepsi commercial… No speak English, no speak English, and bubbles into tears. No, no, no, as if she can’t believe her ears” (p. 78). Mamacita’s child has begun to speak English, a language that she can’t...

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