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The House on Mango Street

by Sandra Cisneros

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Which of these vignettes do you think best illustrates the role a Mexican-American female is expected to play?

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There are forty-four different stories that show how a Mexican-American woman is expected to behave. Women have fixed roles in the family in a male-dominated society. They're expected to marry, stay at home, and raise children and must deal with domineering fathers and husbands. Many are  single parents. I'll give you suggestions of some stories that will answer the question, and if you reread them, you can choose which one you like the best.

In "Alicia Who Sees Mice", the mother has died, and Alicia must do all the cooking and cleaning for her father while trying to go to college. In "Edna's Ruthie", Ruthie married young, but now she lives with her mother waiting for her husband to come back and take her home. "No Speak English" shows how hard it is to come to the U.S. and try to adjust to a whole new culture and society. Mamacita can't speak English, so she never leaves her apartment. Rafaela is locked in her apartment every Tuesday by her husband because he's so jealous of her in "Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays". Tuesday is her husband's poker night. Minerva, in the story of the same name, is married with two children whose husband has left her, but he returns when he feels like it to beat her.

As you can see, you have much to choose from, and they all represent Mexican-American women.

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