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Comparative Commentary - Mango St and Annie John

In: English and Literature

Submitted By LuchoD
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Comparative Essay: gender roles in
The House on Mango Street and Annie John

Question 3: To what extent do male and female literary characters accurately reflect the role of men and women in society?

In this essay I will analyse to what extent the characters in the novels The House on Mango Street (text A), by Sandra Cisneros, and Annie John (text B), by Jamaica Kincaid, reflect the role of men and women in society. These two novels criticise patriarchal societies, where “women are taught to think as men, identify with a male point of view and to accept as normal and legitimate a male system of values…” . In both of them, there are clear examples of chauvinism, which conditions the lives of Esperanza Cordero, a “Chicana” who lives in a Latin neighbourhood in the USA called Mango Street; and Annie John, who passes her childhood and part of her adolescence in Antigua, an island in the Caribbean which until 1981 was a British colony. In the following paragraphs, I will describe and analyse diverse illustrations of patriarchal society seen in both novels. These examples will be used to explain male and female roles in this kind of society.
Firstly, both societies are more permissive with men than with women. In this way, males are allowed to act freely, while women are constantly being judged for their actions. In text A, we can notice Rosa Vargas’s situation. As the text says, “she is the only one against so many […] [and] cries everyday for the man who left without even leaning a dollar for bologna or a note explaining how come.” Furthermore, Minerva is also a victim of chauvinism. As Esperanza says, “Minerva is only a little bit older than me but already she has two kids and a husband who left.” In Mango Street, no one seems to care about it, they take it as something normal. In text B, we are told that Annie John’s father had many children with other women...

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