Imagery is comprised of words that conjure the five senses in our imaginations: sight, sound, touch, taste, and smell.
In chapter four of The House on Mango Street Cisneros uses the image of the great-grandmother at the window leaning on her elbow to represent people who look out at life without participating in it, something Esperanza does not want to do. This is the first instance of women, such as Mamacita and Minerva, who peer out of apartment windows as if they are trapped in jail cells. Often in literature the image of the window represents vistas of opportunity and freedom, but in this novel it is an image of female entrapment.
However, Cisneros also lends the great-grandmother more complexity: she has not always spent her life gazing out a window. She was once a "wild horse of a woman," the words "wild horse" painting a picture or image in our mind of creature that is beautiful, proud, and free. Because Esperanza imagines a horse as free and independent, she does not believe that being born in the year of the horse, as she has been told, is a sign of weakness.