The Reconstruction of Patriarchal Space: [Essay Example], 832 words GradesFixer
close
This essay has been submitted by a student. This is not an example of the work written by professional essay writers.

The Reconstruction of Patriarchal Space

downloadDownload printPrint

Pssst… we can write an original essay just for you.

Any subject. Any type of essay.

We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

Get your price

121 writers online

blank-ico
Download PDF

Sandra Cisneros attempts to reconstruct the traditionally patriarchal realm that is the house and negotiate a space for women. Her bilingual dedication “A las Mujeres/To the Women” recognizes her ethnicity as well as her gender, which immediately shapes the scope of her work. The title of Cisneros’ novel inevitably calls into mind Virginia Woolf’s similarly titled book, A Room of One’s Own. Whilst both novels aim to educate women and empower them, the bilingual dedication of Cisneros’ novel addresses an additional group of women that Woolf may have left out—women of colour. The House on Mango Street draws upon Cisneros’ cultural background and focuses on the patriarchal house as a motif for her reconstruction.

The novel opens with a yearning that is reminiscent of the American dream, to acquire “a real house that would be ours for always…. White with trees around it, a great big yard and grass growing without a fence” (4), yet the Corderos can only settle in a house on Mango Street that is “small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small” (4). The exterior of the house is a reflection of the constraint that is present inside it. Esperanza notes that “the boys and girls live in separate worlds… [her brothers have] got plenty to say to me and Nenny inside the home. But outside they can’t be seen talking to girls” (8). Elsewhere, she recognizes the restrictive quality of the house. Her great grandmother, whom she was named after, was described as “a wild horse of a woman” who was relegated to looking “out the window her whole life, the way many women sit their sadness on an elbow” (11) after being forced into a marriage. Rafaela, too, is an example of a woman confined within the house by her husband “because her husband is afraid Rafaela will run away since she is too beautiful to look at” (79). Her situation is similar to Sally who “sits at home because she is afraid to go outside without his permission” (102). The text is thus punctuated by women who are trapped in their houses constructed by patriarchy.

Pssst... we can write an original essay just for you

Any subject. Any type of essay.

We’ll even meet a 3-hour deadline.

121 writers online

However, the same patriarchal structure that is supported by an oppressive presence is also marked by absence. Esperanza observes that her house had “no front yard,” and their garage is for “the car we don’t own yet” (4). Likewise, other houses are marked by absence. Meme’s house, built by Cathay’s father, has “no closets” (21) while Aunt Lupe’s apartment is located in a building “where sunlight never came” (60). This suggests that there is something incomplete about the male sphere, and opens up possibilities for other more inclusive constructions of the house.

The house is a powerful metaphor for identity (re)construction because houses can be demolished, altered and substituted. This is echoed through Esperanza’s wish to reinvent herself by changing her name to “Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X” (11). The empty signifier “X” represents the arbitrary nature of gender construction that can be assumed like a pair of shoes. In the vignette, “The Family of Little Feet,” the girls become Cinderella and are aware of their sexuality as the men leer at them when they put on high heels. From this episode, Cisneros highlights the fallacy of male oppression that is based on monolithic gender constructions. If gender can be constructed, is it not therefore susceptible to deconstruction and reconstruction?

The vignette “Alicia & I Talking on Edna’s Steps” is probably the most significant because it portrays the dilemma of reconstructing one’s identity. Though Esperanza’s initial intention was to leave Mango Street and only come back when “somebody makes it better” (107), Alicia soon reminds her that that is not going to happen, and this simultaneously leads Esperanza to realize that she will have to make that change. The novel ends by reiterating the opening paragraph. However, the difference is that Esperanza does not highlight the absences of the house but draws strength from it and resolute in voicing the stories of “the ones who cannot out” (110).

The bildungsroman structure of the novel comes full circle with a little girl from an innocent girl who yearns to leave her house to a girl who gains an awareness of the restrictions that confine her and attempts to make a change. By situating the story in a setting that is typically marked by patriarchy, Cisneros is able to shatter absolute gender constructions and show how women can overcome their circumstances if only they can recognize their entrapment and be willing to effect a change. However, this change is not brought about by disavowing one’s past, but rather by embracing it and drawing strength from it because it is only through recognition and examination of the past can one progress.

Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

Woolf, Virginia. A Room of One’s Own. Florida: First Harvest, 1989.

infoRemember: This is just a sample from a fellow student.

Your time is important. Let us write you an essay from scratch

100% plagiarism-free

Sources and citations are provided

Find Free Essays

We provide you with original essay samples, perfect formatting and styling

Cite this Essay

To export a reference to this article please select a referencing style below:

The Reconstruction of Patriarchal Space. (2018, April 05). GradesFixer. Retrieved May 8, 2021, from https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sandra-cisneros-the-house-on-mango-street-redefining-patriarchal-space/
“The Reconstruction of Patriarchal Space.” GradesFixer, 05 Apr. 2018, gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sandra-cisneros-the-house-on-mango-street-redefining-patriarchal-space/
The Reconstruction of Patriarchal Space. [online]. Available at: <https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sandra-cisneros-the-house-on-mango-street-redefining-patriarchal-space/> [Accessed 8 May 2021].
The Reconstruction of Patriarchal Space [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2018 Apr 05 [cited 2021 May 8]. Available from: https://gradesfixer.com/free-essay-examples/sandra-cisneros-the-house-on-mango-street-redefining-patriarchal-space/
copy to clipboard
close

Sorry, copying is not allowed on our website. If you’d like this or any other sample, we’ll happily email it to you.

    By clicking “Send”, you agree to our Terms of service and Privacy statement. We will occasionally send you account related emails.

    close

    Attention! this essay is not unique. You can get 100% plagiarism FREE essay in 30sec

    Recieve 100% plagiarism-Free paper just for 4.99$ on email
    get unique paper
    *Public papers are open and may contain not unique content
    download public sample
    close

    Sorry, we cannot unicalize this essay. You can order Unique paper and our professionals Rewrite it for you

    close

    Thanks!

    Your essay sample has been sent.

    Want us to write one just for you? We can custom edit this essay into an original, 100% plagiarism free essay.

    thanks-icon Order now
    boy

    Hi there!

    Are you interested in getting a customized paper?

    Check it out!
    Having trouble finding the perfect essay? We’ve got you covered. Hire a writer

    GradesFixer.com uses cookies. By continuing we’ll assume you board with our cookie policy.

    exit-popup-close

    Haven't found the right essay?

    Get an expert to write you the one you need!

    exit-popup-print

    Professional writers and researchers

    exit-popup-quotes

    Sources and citation are provided

    exit-popup-clock

    3 hour delivery

    exit-popup-persone