Gender Norms in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

985 WordsJul 17, 20184 Pages
Throughout The House on Mango Street Esperanza learns to resist the gender norms that are deeply imbedded in her community. The majority of the other female characters in the novel have internalized the male viewpoint and they believe that it is their husbands or fathers responsibility to care for them and make any crucial decisions for them. However, despite the influence of other female characters that are “immasculated”, according to Judith Fetterley, Esperanza’s experiences lead her to become a “resisting reader” in Fettereley’s terminology because she does not want to become like the women that she observes, stuck under a man’s authority. She desires to leave Mango Street and have a “home of her own” so that she will never be forced…show more content…
This also leads her to question the way that he treats his girlfriend Lois. Esperanza describes her as “…tiny and pretty…”, however Sire has to tie her shows for her because she does not know how (73). This demonstrates how Lois never learned how to tie her shoes because she was raised to believe that a man can do that for her. Rafaela is another example of this mindset. Her husband keeps her locked up because he believes that she is too beautiful and that she will run away. This demonstrates that he took the choice to leave away from her because he views her as something to protect and keep locked away. Esperanza’s friend Sally is one of the reasons that Esperanza really questions what it is to grow up. Sally wears make-up and appears to challenge the men in her life until they retaliate, like her father who beats and rapes her. In the chapter “The Monkey Garden” Sally is flirting with a group of boys and Esperanza can not understand why Sally will not play with her and the other girls. Then Esperanza thinks that Sally needs recusing from Tito and the other boys when they demand a kiss for the keys they took from her. Sally tells Esperanza to go away and she finally understands that Sally wanted to be with the boys. After meeting Sally and becoming more aware of her own sexuality Esperanza “decided to not grow up tame.”(88). She knows that

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