In Sandra Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street she captures the lives and difficulties of poor Hispanic women through the eyes of a young character named Esperanza. Though Esperanza’s age is not specified at any point in the story it is very clear that she is going through the motions of growing up. In this story Cisneros shows the many troubles these women face such as conflicts with themselves, their husbands (and men in general), and their culture. She also presents the limiting choices they make.
The women of this story often make life-changing decisions at a very tender age in hopes of escaping their families, and their backgrounds. However, instead of giving them freedom, these decisions only bring more captivity. A very common choice is getting married too early in order to free themselves. Many of the women of Mango Street have done this, and of course regretted it. An example of this is Sally, who is a young girl from Mango Street who was being abused by her father and in order to escape this tragedy she went ahead and got married, and she hadn't even got to the eighth grade yet. “She says she is in love, but I think she did it to escape” (Linoleum Roses ¶1), was what Esperanza thought of Sally’s sudden venture into the world of adulthood at such a young age.
In T.H.O.M.S marriage is a gilded concept, because the women are blinded by the pretty house and the new title and the freedom, however, when they've actually experienced it, they come to a realization that they are enslaved with no getaway. For example, Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays, who “gets locked indoors because her husband is afraid Rafaela will run away since she is too beautiful to look at” (Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays ¶1). Another bad effect of marriage is the physical abuse that some women undergo. Minerva Writes Poems is about Minerva who “has many troubles, but the big one is her husband who left and keeps leaving” (Minerva Writes Poems ¶2). “One day she is through and lets him know enough is enough…Next week she comes over black and blue and asks what she can do?” (Minerva Writes Poems ¶2-3). Nothing. That is what she can do. She isn’t strong enough, not emotionally, or physically, or even financially, therefore, all she can do is to lay in the bed in which she has made for herself.
Beauty and sexuality is seen as a necessity in The House on Mango Street, because it is put into the heads of these women that without the “assets” they are incapable of gaining a husband and a fairytale life. However, people should not be judge based on what is on the outside – though an intriguing outside is a plus – they should be seen for what’s on the inside. The young girls on Mango Street have the idea that the most beautiful will snag the guy first and “have it all.” A perfect example of this is Sally, who is “the girl with eyes like Egypt and nylons the color of smoke” (Sally ¶1). “The boys at school think...