The House on Mango Street, written by Sandra Cisneros, and Bless Me Ultima, written by Rudolfo Anaya, have very similar themes within the novels. The House on Mango Street, which is about a young Mexican-American girl named Esperanza, and Bless Me Ultima, which is about the maturation of a young Mexican-American boy named Antonio, both deal with severe prejudice, fulfilling dreams, and growing up, Severe prejudice is quite apparent throughout both novels. In The House on Mango Street, there are many examples where Esperanza is prejudiced against; for example, in the vignette ”Red Clowns,” it says, “Sally Sally a hundred times.
Why didn’t you hear me when I called? Why didn’t you tell them to leave me alone? The one who grabbed me by the arm, he wouldn’t let me go. He said I love you, Spanish girl, I love you, and pressed his sour mouth to mine”.
This shows that the boy did not even need to ask for her name all he saw was a “Spanish girl,” and nothing more.
Also, when Esperanza wants to go and eat in the canteen with all the “special kids” eat, the nun shows prejudice against her, “You don’t live far, she says. You live across the boulevard. That’s only four blocks, Not even, There may be, Three long blocks away from here. I bet I can see your house from my window. Which one? Come here. Which one is your house? And then she made me stand up on a box of books and point.
That one she said, pointing to a row of ugly three flats, the ones even the raggedy men are ashamed to go into. Yes, I nodded, even though I knew that wasn’t my house and started to cry”. This proves that it didn’t matter where Esperanza really live the nun didn’t care. She was using prejudice against Esperanza to assume where she lives: in a dump.
In Bless Me Ultima, prejudice is used quite a lot for instance, “At noon we opened our lunches to eat. Miss Maestas left the room and a high school girl came and sat at the desk while we ate. My mother had packed a small jar of hot beans and some good, green chile wrapped in tortillas. When the other children saw my lunch, they laughed and pointed again. Even the high school girl laughed. They showed me their sandwiches which were made of bread. Again I did not feel well”. This demonstrates the point of prejudice; the children criticized and laughed at Antonio because he was different. Because of the fact that he did not have a sandwich like the rest of them, they felt the need to make him feel unworthy. Prejudice was used heavily in both novels. Fulfilling dreams was also a huge theme used in both books.
Esperanza wanted to move away to somewhere better her own little house, far, far away. in the vignette “A House of My Own,” she portrays this, ”Not a flat. Not an apartment in the back. Not a man’s house. Not a daddy‘s, A house all my own. With my porch and my pillow, my pretty purple petunias. My books and my stories my two shoes waiting beside the bed Nobody to shake a stick at Nobody’s garbage to pick up after. Only a house quiet as snow, a space for myself to go, clean as paper before the poem” (Cisneros 108). Esperanza wants to get out of Mango Street and live in her own little abode, where she can be free to live her own life and be happy. Tony wants to follow in the footsteps of Ultima and become a curandera, even though his parents have separate ideas for his future, as it shown in this passage from the novel, “I have no magic power to help you, I cried I carefully marked where the churning waters eddied into a pool.
There the catfish would lurk, greedy for meat. From my disemboweled brothers I took three warm livers and baited my hook. But you have the power of the church, you are the boy priest! they cried. Or choose from the power of the golden carp or the magic of your Ultima, Grant us rest! They cried in such pain for release that I took their livers from the hook and cast them into the raging, muddy waters of the River of the Carp. Then they rested, and I rested” (Anaya 235). This dream of Tony shows that Tony is meant to follow in Ultima’s footsteps and use magic to help people. Tony is not meant to become a priest. It’s destiny fulfilling dreams was very important to these two narratives. Lastly, growing up was something that both Esperanza and Tony dealt with immensely during the books. In The House on Mango Street, this point is shown in the vignette “Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes,” “One day I will pack my bags of books and papers.
One day I will say goodbye to Mangot I am too strong for her to keep me here forever. One day I will go away. Friends and neighbors will say, What happened to that Esperanza? Where did she go with all those books and paper? Why did she march so far away? They will not know I have gone away to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out”? This shows Esperanza’s growing maturity by displaying the fact that she now realizes that she’s too good for Mango. Someday she will leave it for good. But, she’s also mature enough to realize that she will return again someday, to visit her loved ones for, she truly did love Mango Street, not for what it was, but for who was there Tony, saw many things that should not be seen by a young child.
He was even unsure if he would ever be able to be free-spirited like a kid again, ”Would I ever race like a kid again, wild cabrito rattling the pebbles on the goat path; and would I ever wrestle the Crazy Horse and wild Bones again? And what dream would form to guide my life as a man? These thoughts tumbled through my mind until I saw the lights of the town across the river. I had arrived”? Tony is contemplating things that even a twenty-year-old may not even start thinking about. He is growing up, and is looking at his future Growing up was a major theme within the two books. Both The House on Mango Street and Bless Me Ultima had very intricate themes within their stories. For very different tales, they had very similar means, there were three main themes that were shared between the two: prejudice, dreams, and maturity.