Free «Sandra Cisneros» Essay

Sandra Cisneros

Book Critique

Sandra Cisneros is a wonderful writer. Her books cause desire to read more and more. It seems that Chicana writer cannot only write plots for whining TV serials. Everything changes almost from the first pages. Indeed, her simplicity and easiness of writing is charming. Her novels express her voice. They present memories about childhood, culture and traditions as well as women’s place in society and relationships.

“The House on Mango Street” is a first novel of Sandra Cisneros. It was written on behalf of the little girl and consists of 44 sections that are untied. It is impossible to say something bad about the novel, because how can we critique a child? New stories of Sandra Cisneros appeared one by one. Another interesting novel is “Caramelo.” In this novel, Sandra wanted to tell about her father, but after all, it was hard to write without mentioning the rest of her family. 

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Novels are a little bit similar. In both of them we can see narrators’ period of childhood, in which they describe traditions and relations between the Mexican and American. In Cisneros’s first novel, “The House on Mango Street” describes the first year of the Esperanza, main character, in Chicago. Esperanza, the protagonist, shares her memories, feelings and dreams as well as tries to find her place in the neighborhood. She is only twelve, but she understands a lot of things. There is a symbol of window in her stories. When she sees a woman standing in it, she thinks about her great-grandmother:

“She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their           sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn’t be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don’t want to inherit her place by the window.” (Cisneros 11)

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It is like a prison for women who became wives. Esperanza is not like other girls, she does not want to find a husband to escape from home and then spend the rest of her life looking through a window and telling all sorrow to an elbow. She wants to be independent, to have rights, voice and possibility to write. She understands that writing is her freedom. Therefore, men are usually described as selfish and dangerous creatures. Sometimes, it seems that marriage is something awful for a lady. There is no life, no happiness, only sadness and memories about youth. Another interesting symbol presented by the writer is shoes. Esperanza noticed that high heels make girls pretty and sexual “Do you like these shoes? But the truth is it is scary to look down at your foot that is no longer yours and see attached a long,  long leg”( Cisneros 40). Shoes make them look like adults and interesting to men. Another significant symbol is a falling star that brings a feeling of hope when being a dreamer and believing that someday all wishes will come true.

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“Caramelo” is an autobiographical novel which was nominated for different literary awards. This work took Cisneros nine years. She wanted to say so many things that in the end of the novel she made some notes on them. “Caramelo” is a combination of two languages, but it is so eleborately done that reader understands the plot and the main theme. As Cisneros says “My biggest problem with Caramelo is that it really isn't a novel. It's more like a huge collection of sketches and strings of narrative loosely woven together. There's no plot or quest or communal striving” (Cogan, 2004).  It is a book where narrator tells the story of three families, three generations, and three women. She retells heard stories and compares it with her life and life of her family. Without a doubt, we can see gender problems, which are even deeper than in “The House on Mango Street.” One of the main themes in “Caramelo” is women’s protection from everything. Women are isolated from news, information, jobs, and even from world. Society thought that it was right, but it did not change the situation. Women became miserable and domestic, instead of being ready to face the real problems.

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Two different novels, each is amazing in its own way. We can see two different periods of time, different family problems and relations. First novel is easier to understand and to catch the main idea. It is written in a simple way, therefore, it is appropriate for reading for all ages. In the second novel, deeper questions are raised. In first novel, we can see everything through the eyes of a child. On the contrary, in “Caramelo” we can see things through the eyes of a child only at the beginning.

“The House on Mango Street” is a book, which is admired by many people. “Caramelo” does not leave people apathetic too. Even nowadays, in our society, when women have rights, success and career, books of Sandra Cisneros do not lose interest among them. For some of them it will be just novels, other may get better understanding of the world and remember who they are and never forget about their dreams and hopes. These books give us even more. Everyone must understand that we should not hurt those who we love. 

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