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The purpose of this paper is to review the literary style used by the feminist author Sandra Cisneros. Cisneros is one of the female writers who has expressed dissatisfaction with the American social system, especially due to racial segregation, poverty, economic and gender inequalities.
Her poetic approach, use of vignettes and the Spanish language in her books ‘The House on a Mango Tree’ and ‘Caramelo’ indicates a unique style that makes them easy to read and understand. this paper reviews the use of literary style by examining the use of these approaches in the two books.
Born in 1954, Sandra Cisneros grew up in her Chicago neighborhood. That area, at that time she was growing up, was ridden with poverty, gender and economic inequalities. (Doyle, 2004). Her early experiences probably explain why she uses literary works to investigate before mentioned social issues.
In her books ‘The House on a Mango Street’ and ‘Caramelo’, Cisneros applies a number of literary styles to express her ideas, present themes and develop a unique way of attracting a reader’s attention (Cruz, 2001). From analysis of the two given texts, one can argue that Cisneros’s use of poetic approach and vignettes contributes to the readability of her works. In addition, it displays the conciseness of literary styles, which, by the way, proves her ability to investigate social and economic issues in American setting.
The use of vignettes and readability
The author’s ability to develop a collection of vignettes into a volume that drives the narrative is excellent. It makes the readers easily understand the plot and the main idea(Cruz, 2001). For instance, critics have often described the book ‘House on a Mango Street’ as a collection of vignettes. The use of illustrations (or vignettes) allows her to create meanings and imagery that illustrate the plot (Cruz, 2001).
For instance, at the beginning of each chapter, Cisneros maintains the use of brief illustrations to explain the contents of each particular chapter. In fact, most of her illustrations are short. Most of them occupy less than half a page. For example, in the book ‘The House on a Mango Street’, the author uses vignettes to create the larger narrative. Each of the vignettes creates its own meaning and contribution to the development of the entire narrative.
For instance, “Chanclas” is one of the best examples of sound prose vignettes that the author applies to create the larger narrative (Cruz, 2001). Additional example is seen in the vignette “…in the meantime the boy is actually my cousin… but he has asked me to dance with him but I cannot…” It shows that the author’s sketch tends to illustrate the kind of insecurity that Esperanza experiences in her life. This insecurity results from poverty that the girl and her neighbors in Chicago have to endure as they grow up (Madsen, 2000).
Throughout the book ‘The House on a Mango Street’, Cisneros has maintained the use of poems to illustrate her ideas and themes. Although she has used many poems in the book and this does not make it ostentatious. Rather, this device successfully makes the narrative clear and easy to understand (Doyle, 2004).
In fact, the poetic approach allows the author to develop metaphors and imagery. For instance, Esperanza (the main character in the book) says “…until then, I am a red balloon …that has been tied to an anchor…” (Cisneros, 1984). The term ‘red balloon’ is used to mean the annoyance that the young sister makes Esperanza feel when toting the child (Doyle, 2004).
With the use if vignettes and poetic approach, the author develops a narrative that is easy to read and understand. In addition, it is easy to comprehend the themes presented in the story. Her poetic approach, the use of vignettes and Spanish in her works indicates a unique style that makes the book easy to read and understand.
Cisneros, S. (1984). The House on a Mango Street. New York, NY: Vintage Contemporaries
Cruz, F. J. (2001). On the ‘Simplicity’ of Sandra Cisneros’s ‘House on Mango Street’. Modern Fiction Studies 47(4), 910–946
Doyle, J. (2004). More Room of Her Own: Sandra Cisneros’s ‘The House on Mango Street’. MELUS 19(4), 5–35
Madsen, D. L. (2000). Understanding Contemporary Chicana Literature. Columbia, SC: University of South Carolina Press