In Sandra Cisneros' novella, "The House on Mango Street," a thirteen year old girl named Esperanza takes the audience through a series of events as if they are living Esperanza's life with her. Cisneros vividly describes the many troubles Esperanza faces in 1970's Chicago. All the families that live on Mango Street are poverty stricken and Esperanza hopes to one day leave Mango Street to become successful. Women in the 1970's were not treated equally to men, they were abused and dominated in society. The men of Mango street beat the women and control every aspect of their lives. The women in the book are tied to the men, as they directly or indirectly try to escape their lives on Mango Street and try to find a better future for themselves which is also why the book is dedicated "to the women." Cisneros believes that the key to freedom for the women is education which can bring them success.
Most the men in the novella treat the women badly. "He never hits hard" (Cisneros 92). This portrays that the women of Mango Street are so scared of the men that they try to cover up and justify the abuse. The men misuse their strength in the family, as well as physical strength to control the lives of the females. Since Sally's father makes the money for the family, he has all the power and until Sally can complete her education she will never able to gain control of her own life. .
The only exception to the brash, uncaring and almost disgusting men of Mango Street appears to be Esperanza's father in cries in the book, jokes with Esperanza, does not physically harm his wife or kids and works hard. "My brave Papa cries.I have never seen my Papa cry" (Cisneros 56). Cisneros uses Papa as a foil character to all the other men on Mango Street. He is the only positive male role model throughout the entire novella. Even though he has an education and brings the income in for the family, he does not abuse the power he possesses.