Analysis of the Vignette “Those Who Don’t” in the House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Prompt Two- Read the passage and then write an essay analyzing the rhetorical techniques the author uses to convey his or her intended effect on the reader. Social discrimination is evident all over the world. Society makes it seem as though those who live in poverty are the same – atrocious and horrible. In areas like these, they call it the “ghetto”, a dangerous and unsafe area that is resented by almost everyone. In ignorance, poor people in this world today are thought to be dangerous or unruly beings.
In this society, one who is at a lower rank, whether caused by the lack of money or by racial superiority, alludes to a series of hazardous events. Even though poverty is experienced by all types of people, rather than just dangerous, Sandra Cisneros draws attention to racial segregation and social discrimination in the vignette “Those Who Don’t” through rhetorical devices such as tone and sentence structure. In her writing, Sandra Cisneros gives off a tone of annoyance through Esperanza’s character due to the ignorance of others in their conclusions drawn based on the looks of her neighborhood.
In the vignette, Esperanza says, “Those who don’t know any better come into our neighborhood scared. ” Esperanza emphasizes “those who don’t know any better” to prove her understanding of the pure obliviousness of everyone else. Those who do not know her personally or are not residents of Mango Street cannot seem to grasp that the image posed by the neighborhood is not by choice, but by necessity. Esperanza continues, “They think we’re dangerous. ” Others do not acknowledge or even notice that the area is only poor.
They automatically become fearful of their safety because society’s version of a safe neighborhood does not look as torn apart or as battered as Mango Street. The appearance of their neighborhood is chained to the appearance of one that screams danger because it looks so similar. Social discrimination is evident throughout this vignette because her social status causes many to look down upon her neighborhood and to label it as a hazardous place to be. In addition to tone, Cisneros also utilizes sentence structure to define Esperanza’s hardships she encounters daily, especially because of her social state and Mexican heritage.
Her sentences are very succinct and simple throughout the chapter: for example, “But we aren’t afraid. ” Esperanza realizes that her street is socially discriminated against, but that she doesn’t have to take offense to the oppression she receives. She uses short and simple sentences and phrases due to her anger towards the ignorance and the arrogance that is directed at them all. The vignette reads, “All brown all around, we are safe. ” The author uses more short sentences to show that Esperanza is in the doorway of sheltered thinking and wisdom.
Esperanza shows she’s beyond sheltered thinking because she understands that her street is not dangerous but she returns to it when she concludes that the reason behind the discrimination has to deal with their Mexican culture, even though it is more of a social matter. With this short statement, Esperanza also suggests that all neighborhoods have the same qualities of racial segregation in order to feel safe. If she feels safe living on her street that is rich with the Hispanic heritage, it must be the reason many are scared, rather than the actual presentation of their neighborhood as the most feared factor.
Sandra Cisneros highlights racial segregation and social discrimination as key aspects in “Those Who Don’t”. In ignorance, many make the same mistake of confusing poor people or people of other ethnicities as dangerous people because of the conditions that they live in. Esperanza looks beyond this ignorance of those who look down on the ugliness of Mango Street. She knows and understands that there is a deeper meaning as to why many think in that way, but her immature and childish mindset leads her to think that it is caused by her Mexican culture.