A las Mujeres
In many cultures, women are expected to be nurturers who care for their husbands and children. It is considered the role that most significantly defines women and the one, above all, that they should aspire to. Sandra Cisneros wants girls to know that they do not have to define themselves based on other’s definitions of them, because they have powerful voices by which to define themselves.
Through the voice of Esperanza, the narrator in her book The House on Mango Street, Cisneros gives girls a way to speak up in self-defense. Choices for girls are not nearly as limited as they were a generation ago. Today we value education for girls and we believe that they should be given the same career opportunities as boys. In school girls are taught that they don’t have to be tied to the traditional roles that their mothers and grandmothers were limited to. But, we still find these limitations reflected in the ways boys and girls are raised in their homes and treated in society. Esperanza shows us a way to overcome these cultural barriers through her courage and determination. And her message of hope and overcoming obstacles is one that not only inspires girls in her audience, but boys as well. Cisneros provides clues in the introduction to her book that it is really the story of her life. Esperanza represents the author’s own determination to pursue her dreams and become a writer. She had to do this against many odds. But she did not allow a father who discouraged her, the distractions in her home, the problems of her community, or the prejudice she faced to stop her from reaching her goal. From a young age, Esperanza was determined to be her own person. She would not accept the limitations society tried to place on her. She says of her grandmother, who had been forced to marry young and who lived a life of regret, “She looked out her window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on their elbow…. I have inherited her name, but...
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