Date of Award


Degree Type




First Advisor

Karem, Jeff

Subject Headings

Cisneros, Sandra, House on Mango Street, Cisneros, Sandra -- Criticism and interpretation, Fairy tales -- History and criticism, Sex role in literature, Feminism and literature, House on Mango Street, Fairy Tale, Allusion, Rescue, Empowered, Esperanza, Cisneros, Sandra


Within The House on Mango Street, Cisneros weaves several subtle literary allusions, mostly from fairy tales, into many of her vignettes. These subtle allusions help Cisneros create a portrait of expected feminine roles, mostly women as victims, within the patriarchal community, which, when juxtaposed with Esperanza's ideals for herself and her inner strength and drive, help distinguish her as different from those around her. Because she is different and stronger than the other women in her community, Esperanza will be able to reject the other female role models presented by both the women in her community and the women in the fairy tales she has been inundated with her entire life. She includes allusions to the tales to teach Esperanza how not to be. The rejection of the models that have been presented to her will allow her to instead create her own story where she will be able to "live happily ever after" on her own terms and not to rely on waiting for someone else to save her. Her rejection of the fairy tale messages will allow her to take the traditional story model and subvert it, thereby making herself, as the main character of her life story, into an empowered character, rather than a victim like her neighborhood counterparts. Her escape will allow her to finally escape the poverty and oppression of her community, but will also give her the strength to return to save the other women from similar trappings, thereby becoming their figurative Prince Charming