The House on Mango Street
How we cite our quotes:
And then Rafaela, who is still young but getting old from leaning out the window so much, gets locked indoors because her husband is afraid Rafaela will run away since she is too beautiful to look at. (31.1)
The issue of freedom and confinement becomes a gendered problem in this novel, as women are frequently confined to their homes by their husbands.
Rafaela […] wishes there were sweeter drinks, not bitter like an empty room, but sweet sweet like the island, like the dance hall down the street where women much older than her throw green eyes easily like dice and open homes with keys. And always there is someone offering sweeter drinks, someone promising to keep them on a silver string. (31.4)
Feminine freedom, symbolized by the act of opening a home with a key, is here portrayed as being in constant jeopardy.
I have begun my own quiet war. Simple. Sure. I am the one who leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate. (35.5)
Perceiving herself to have no feminine power of her own, Esperanza decides to play with gender roles and adopt the mannerisms of a man.