We have changed our privacy policy. In addition, we use cookies on our website for various purposes. By continuing on our website, you consent to our use of cookies. You can learn about our practices by reading our privacy policy.
© 2016 Shmoop University, Inc. All rights reserved.
The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street

  

by Sandra Cisneros

Antagonist

Character Role Analysis

"Them" - the boys at the carnival. Or, Society.

It's hard to identify an antagonist in this novel. Undoubtedly, Esperanza faces many challenges – her family is poor, she's growing up in a bad neighborhood, she's a girl in a sexist environment – but these obstacles are societal issues, and can't really be blamed on any one person. Even her rape is characterized more as a societal problem than a particular crime with an aggressor and a victim. The anonymity of the rapist and his gang, who are only described by way of dirty fingernails, a sour smell, and high black gym shoes, erases their individuality and makes them seem like they could be anybody.