The construction of Chicana identity in "The House on Mango Street" by Sandra Cisneros
Cepeda, Christine C.
Master of Arts
Two powerful Mexican female archetypes, La Virgen de Guadalupe and La Malinche, have had a powerful impact on the identities of Mexican American women for many generations. I will focus on the theories of Octavio Paz, a male Mexican intellectual, and Gloria Anzaldua, a Chicana feminist, among other critics, in order to unmask the limitations that these archetypes have imposed on women of Mexican heritage. In The House on Mango Street , the young protagonist, Esperanza Cordero, observes the women in her family and in her inner-city neighborhood as her only available role models. She observes their inability to defy traditional roles for women of Mexican heritage and experiences the effects of those patriarchal constructions in her own life. This analysis explores how one Chicana adolescent goes from childhood to womanhood while living on Mango Street and her refusal to accept those Mexican archetypes in an effort to construct her identity as a Chicana unwilling to conform to those ideals.
Latin American literature; Sociology; Ethnic studies