When do race and gender come into conflict? Does one triumph as the more important concern or both issues receive equal consideration?
The book is filled with references to both race and gender. The two often go hand in hand. I'm not sure I'd say they "come in conflict". Gender, definatly seems the more important issue. Race is only a conflict in one or two vignettes ("Those Who Don't"). Race, in particular hispanic culture, are more of a character in the book than a conflict. A few cultural and language barriers arrise as conflicts, but they tend to be small in comparison to the sexual/gender conflicts.
A third theme that comes up frquently and is closely related to these two, is poverty.
Read the link below - it should help!
In general, Cisneros paints hispanic men in a negative light. She paints most hispanic men in the novel as abusive, cheaters who hold "their women" back. One exception to this is Esperanza's father, he however, is rarely home, and when he is, he sleeps.
A few women are painted as strong and determined to "make it", i.e. Esperanza and Alice
Most, however, are co-dependant and in relationships that are abusive. i.e. Sally, Minerva, Rafaela, Ruthie