The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

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What clues does this story provide about the roles of women and men in Esperanza’s community? How does this story, like "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark," evidence Esperanza’s character...

What clues does this story provide about the roles of women and men in Esperanza’s community? How does this story, like "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark," evidence Esperanza’s character development?

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In the incredibly short story "Papa Wakes Up Tired in the Dark," a brief but incredibly dense scene plays out wherein Esperanza's papa informs her that his own father has passed away. Esperanza has always thought of her father as a proud and strong man, but she is now seeing him in an incredibly weakened state. She is imagining him having to go to Mexico to commit to all the formalities that are demanded by a deceased family member. Esperanza then imagines the pain that she would feel if her own father were to die, and she silently supports her father by holding him.

Esperanza's development in this scene is one of growing up. Before this, she has seen her father as invincible, but she now sees him as a man that is just as easily shaken by loss as anyone else. In Esperanza's community, it seems to be the role of men to provide and to constantly bear the burdens of family without complaining. After all, he is forced to face every morning alone, without his children fully realizing what he has sacrificed. As the oldest daughter, it is Esperanza's duty to explain this occurrence to her younger siblings and to comfort her father in his darkest hour, when he needs it the most.

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