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Theme Of Innocence In The House On Mango Street

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The House on Mango Street uses three vignettes to state that innocence shelters children from the extreme truth of the adult world. To begin, in “The First Job”, an older man unexpectedly forces himself on Esperanza: “I thought I would because he was so old and just as I was about to put my lips on his cheek, he grabs my face with both hands and kisses me hard on the mouth and doesn’t let go” (Cisneros 55). Esperanza’s innocence allowed her to kiss an old man on the cheek for his birthday because she could not imagine anything inappropriate occurring. However, the man “grabs [her] face with both hands” and “doesn’t let go”. This violent action shatters the innocence that has hidden Esperanza from the adult truth. Next, Esperanza witnesses how Tito and the boys treat Sally in “The Monkey Garden”: “One of Tito’s friends said you can’t get the keys back unless you kiss us and Sally pretended to be mad at first but she said yes” (Cisneros 96). The adult game played angers Esperanza as the boys use Sally to their advantage and Sally “[pretends] to be mad” but still willingly complies. Esperanza, unlike Sally, sees the situation as wrong because of her innocence, but when she attempts to save Sally, the boys laugh at her. Embarrassed, Esperanza is exposed to an adult type of game and now feels confused from this break in her innocence. Finally, Esperanza completely loses her innocence after being sexually assaulted at the carnival: “You’re a liar. They all lied. All the books and
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