In “The House on Mango Street” what do ball and chain mean?

Updated 21 March, 2023
In "The House on Mango Street," ball and chain are symbolic phrases used to describe the feeling of being trapped in a situation or relationship. The protagonist, Esperanza, uses this phrase to convey her frustration with the limitations imposed on her by her family and society. She feels constrained by the expectations placed on her as a woman and by the poverty of her neighborhood. The ball and chain imagery is a powerful metaphor for the weight of these constraints, which prevent her from achieving her dreams and living a fulfilling life.
Detailed answer:

In "The House on Mango Street," the ball and chain imagery is a recurring motif that symbolizes the sense of entrapment experienced by many of the characters. Esperanza uses this metaphor to describe the limitations that are imposed on her by her family, her gender, and her poverty. She feels like a prisoner, trapped by the expectations placed on her and the lack of opportunities available to her.

The ball and chain metaphor is used in a variety of contexts throughout the book. For example, in "Boys & Girls," Esperanza describes how her friend Marin feels "stuck" in her relationship with her boyfriend: "She is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life." The metaphor suggests that Marin is chained to her current situation, unable to break free and pursue her dreams.

Similarly, in "The Family of Little Feet," Esperanza and her friends put on high-heeled shoes and walk around the neighborhood, enjoying the feeling of freedom and power that the shoes give them. But when they return to their homes, they take off the shoes and feel the weight of their poverty and social status once again. The ball and chain imagery is implicit here, as the shoes represent a temporary escape from the limitations of their lives.

Overall, the ball and chain metaphor is a powerful symbol of the constraints that the characters face in "The House on Mango Street." It conveys the feeling of being trapped, weighed down, and unable to break free from the expectations and limitations that shape their lives.

Do you have any other questions?
Question has been sent. We'll take a look at it in 1 day Ask another question

Where do you want us to send this sample?

    By clicking “Continue”, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.


    Be careful. This essay is not unique

    This essay was donated by a student and is likely to have been used and submitted before

    Download this Sample

    Free samples may contain mistakes and not unique parts


    Sorry, we could not paraphrase this essay. Our professional writers can rewrite it and get you a unique paper.



    Please check your inbox.

    We can write you a custom essay that will follow your exact instructions and meet the deadlines. Let's fix your grades together!

    We can help you get a better grade and deliver your task on time!
    • Instructions Followed To The Letter
    • Deadlines Met At Every Stage
    • Unique And Plagiarism Free
    Order your paper now