Housekeeping And Marilynne Robinson's The House On Mango Street

1975 Words 8 Pages
In Sandra Cisneros’ bildungsroman The House on Mango Street, we see the main character, Esperanza struggle to find her place in Chicago, as well as within her own culture’s idea of the “perfect” woman, the ideal woman of her community and the ideal woman of the 80’s. In Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, we see two girls’ journey after they are abandoned by their mother in a small town located in Northern Idaho. Set in the 1950’s, we see Ruth and Lucille develop as they find their place within their small community and within society’s restrictions of this era. Although these two bildungsroman novels are drastically different, Robinson’s Housekeeping and Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street both explore female oppression throughout history …show more content…
Cisneros uses the reoccurring image of the women who are stuck by windows in order to allow the audience to see that Esperanza may be a child, yet she still notices small details and therefore has some credibility. Esperanza sees a young woman by the name of Rafaela whose husband is “afraid [she] will run away since she is too beautiful to look at” (Cisneros 79). Rafaela is imprisoned in her home, and dreams of better places. She gives the girls money through the window to go buy her coconut and papaya juice, which she then drinks while “[wishing] there were sweeter drinks” (Cisneros 80). The juice is the small taste of freedom that allows her to escape her home and the reality of her situation. In this vignette, she is also compared to “Rapunzel”, a princess who was locked up in a tower, and in a way, the two characters are similar as they are both …show more content…
Although they were still expected to be long legged, supermodel looking women who worked out and yet still managed to keep a house and a family, “by 1984, 49% of undergraduate college degrees, 49% of all master 's degrees and about 33% of all doctoral degrees were being awarded to women” (Diane). A woman ran for vice president for the first time, and although there was still a pay gap between men’s salaries and women’s salaries, it dropped 10% compared to the 1970’s. Chicago also had its first black mayor who represented the minority groups in that area. Although all of these external changes happening, some of the women within The House on Mango Street are yet to be set free. Alicia attends university, but still is obligated to wake up early in order to do the work of a woman around her family’s

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