Gender Roles In The House On Mango Street

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Gender roles are defined as the role or behaviour learned by a person as appropriate to their gender, determined by the prevailing cultural norms (Oxford Dictionary). Gender roles are very prominent in the world today and affect the way many people live. They affect the way people act, dress, and even think. In the novel The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, the role of women in society is to be obedient and allow men to be the dominant partner. Primarily, women in The House on Mango Street are sex symbols. In the society, men are stereotyped as stronger and more intimidating, which makes it easier for the women to step back and let the men take charge. This includes letting men take charge of their bodies. For example, a random man in the neighborhood called out to Esperanza and a few other little girls, “Ladies, lead me to heaven” (Cisneros 41). This demonstrates that men felt they had the right to objectify women based on their appearance no matter what their age by yelling violating and repulsive things. In this case, and most other situations similar to this, Esperanza and her friends could do nothing other than ignore the man and keep walking. In …show more content…
Many of these women who are ‘forbidden’ to go outside often sit by a window and stare gloomily. For example, Esperanza describes her grandmother’s life when she says, “She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow… Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window” (Cisneros 11). This shows that Esperanza’s grandmother lived a very solemn life and didn’t do anything to change it. This proves that women in this society are obedient to their husbands or fathers. Even if they don’t like what the men make them do, they do not do anything to change it. Thus, women who stare out the window represent obedience to

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