‘The House on Mango Street’: To Touch upon the Common Struggles of Women in Patriarchal Societies

Have you ever heard of Chicana women? and how would you imagine the role of women in Mexica?

If you are reading this article now, you are most likely interested in women rights and feminism topics, or maybe you are one of those Chicana women who has been suffering from gender discrimination and sexist attitudes against women in your hometown.

Let’s see what is going on with other women in the world…

If you are wondering about what Chicana means, with its most popular definition, it refers to a Mexican-American woman who is raised in the United States. Chicana women are mostly associated with the themes of poverty, sexism, racism, a dominance of males in society, a history of discrimination and neglect in both the household and the workplace.

‘The House on Mango Street’ is a ground-breaking novel written by Sandra Cisneros, the first female Mexican-American published author. Since its first publication in 1984, the novel has been both reviewed and discussed by many scholar and literary critics. Throughout the novel, the author recounts the life and the hard experiences encountered by women from the eyes of the protagonist, Esperanza. I consider Esperanza as a voice of all the women in the world struggling with the same or similar cases. The reason why I am talking about this novel is that it is a great choice of literature which breathtakingly features gender, immigration and identity topics within itself. It enables us to grasp an understanding of the role of women in society; their struggles and patriarchal oppression on them.

Since we all are unique and one, the impression we get from the story might be different from each other. What impressed me a lot is that Esperanza is focusing on the difficulties of growing up in American society but being an ‘’other’’ due to identity, racial and ethnic problems. While reading the novel, I took a moment and I said: any of us might be a foreigner or an ‘‘other’’  in someone else’s garden due to our identity, skin color, gender, and sexual orientation. In this case, we all might feel like the way Esperanza does during her childhood and her lifetime to some extent. When one digs down deeper in the book, they could find some similarities with the protagonist as I did because I could establish a bond with Esperanza in some respects and I really enjoyed myself while reading her story.

It is obvious that gender roles and patriarchy are all linked to each other. Most of the women living in barrios try to escape (or they have already escaped) from their barrios so that they have a chance to get rid of the hegemony of men and to gain their own independence in their own way. Unfortunately, it is a frequently-seen situation that women are expected to give up their dreams and expectations in patriarchal societies instead of expanding their horizons. When I have a look at the social environment that Esperanza draws for us to see how domestic violence and lack of one’s own privacy trigger her or other women to search for a place to go and leave everything behind. She never wants to be one of the Chicana women who are submissive and obedient. In contrast, the only thing that she wishes is to be independent unlike the other women in her barrio.


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