How does Sandra Cisneros develop Esperanza effectively? Provide an idea (ex. language devices, use of contrast,use of situation,etc) and examples from the novel The House on Mango Street.

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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In The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros develops the character of Esperanza effectively. Esperanza lives on Mango Street. She deals with the everyday occurrences that happen in her neighborhood. Things that happen in her neighborhood continue to shape her as a character. Through the "forty-four short tales that evoke the circumstances and conditions of a Hispanic American ghetto in Chicago," Esperanza grows into a young woman.   

The narrative is seen through the eyes of Esperanza Cordero. As Esperanza is coming of age, she is beginning to think about life outside of the neighborhood. She dreams about leaving the neighborhood and having a better life. She vows to leave one day and take as many as she can with her:

Esperanza demonstrates empathy for those around her, particularly those who do not see beyond the confines of their situations: "One day I will say goodbye to Mango. I am too strong for her to keep me here forever. One day I will go away.

As Esperanza shares vignettes of her cultural traditions, "her perceptions range from humorous anecdotes pulled from life in the barrio to more dark references to crime and sexual provocation." She effectively portrays other characters, particularly females. Esperanza matures throughout the stories she tells. She finds her sense of self identity through the women she analyzes. She analyzes the young women who wear black and make up. She walks around herself in high heel shoes, trying to determine her own identity. She is courageous enough to transcend her difficult circumstances. She realizes there is a bigger world out there and she longs to discover it. 

Truly, Esperanza finds herself while examining feminist ideas. Despite the unfairness, she realizes that there are separate rules for women and men. Inequalities exist on Mango Street. Esperanza is very perceptive. She observes women who are trapped in abusive marriages and vows to never grow up to be in such an abusive relationship:

"I have decided not to grow up tame like the others who lay their necks on the threshold waiting for the ball and chain."

She does not want to become a prisoner of her neighborhood. She will leave one day and find a better life, but she will not forget the neighborhood which helped shape her identity:

"One day I'll own my own house, but I won't forget who or where I came from."

Esperanza's ability to see the barriers of her neighborhood, along with her education in reading and writing, will keep her from becoming trapped like the women who surround her. 

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