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Character Analysis of Esperanza in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

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Esperanza, a strong- willed girl who dreams big despite her surroundings and restrictions, is the main character in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Esperanza represents the females of her poor and impoverished neighborhood who wish to change and better themselves. She desires both sexuality and autonomy of marriage, hoping to break the typical life cycle of woman in her family and neighborhood. Throughout the novel, she goes through many different changes in search of identity and maturity, seeking self-reliance and interdependence, through insecure ideas such as owning her own house, instead of seeking comfort and in one’s self. Esperanza matures as she begins to see the difference. She evolves from an insecure girl to a…show more content…
With all the troubles in the adult’s world, the children seek a refuge from adult supervision and harassment. Monkey Garden is that refuge; it is a place where the neighborhood kids can misbehave, play and still be kids. In one instance Esperanza is pressured into changing herself because of the different situations that Sally, Esperanza’s sexually bold friend. Sally puts her in these situations by lying or abandoning Esperanza. After feeling ashamed of not understanding why Sally flirts with the boys in The Monkey Garden, Esperanza comes to a realization with the following quote, “And the garden that had been such a good place to play didn’t seem mine either” (Cisneros 98). Sally puts Esperanza in a situation where she feels ashamed and uncomfortable being in her own skin and not understanding how Sally acts with the boys. Whereas Esperanza initially pays close attention when her and Sally discuss things, including boys and sex, when Sally abandons Esperanza at the fair, she discovers that how Sally describes sex is not how Esperanza first encounters it, because she is raped and, clearly it is a horrible experience. She says, “Sally, you lied. It wasn’t what you said at all. What he did. Where he touched me. I didn’t want it Sally.” (Cisneros 99) Sally is not a loyal friend to Esperanza. She has been left on her own to deal with this horrible experience that is forcing her to shed all childhood innocence.
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