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Juliana Hwang

Mr. Girba
English 1H
November 14, 2015
Q1 English 1H Summative Essay
A Mothers Outgrowth
Love. Sacrifice. Protect. It is one of the many things a mother gives to her child, yet at a
cost. It exposes her to the fear of raising a child to prove herself to receive the title of a good
mother. She does not know the correct method of raising her child, not knowing if it will help
that child transition to the same stage she faces currently. Yet, in the ever-changing world, society
views mothers through a multiple of perspectives, with a multiple of ideas. In the novel, The
House on Mango Street, written by Sandra Cisneros, Fever 1793, by Laurie Anderson, and the
poem, Women, by Alice Walker, the authors explore the lives of mothers that help their
children transition from childhood to adulthood through the experiences of being impoverished,
an environment of hardship, and the search for a better future, thus showing that environments
and experiences can affect ones perspective on life and personal identity.
Such environments and experiences would be included through the character Mama, in
The House on Mango Street. According to the author, Shame is a bad thing, you know. It keeps
you down. You want to know why I quit school? Because I didnt have nice clothes. No clothes,
but I had brains(Cisneros 91). In the quote, the author states the reason to how Mama dropped
out of school due to the shaming of what she didnt have. Mama couldnt afford the cordial
appliances and clothes, yet what she could afford was the intellect throughout the ordeal. The
quote shows an importance to how Mama was impoverished in her early years, becoming
ashamed to what she couldnt have, or do because of it. Although she was academically
successful, it did not stop the remorse of her difficulty to invest in commendable accouterments.

It also reveals the regrets Mama has to being indigent as she states that the humiliation she
received kept her from reaching to her potential, and eventually forcing her to quit school. In
poverty, an individual lacks the needs of accomplishing their goals. It also becomes an emotional
difficulty through how someone tends to receive the poverty as. Mama, however, took it as a
burden. She believed the poverty kept her from finishing school, and accomplishing a better
future for herself through how society viewed her, a toll Mama couldnt bare.
Not only being impoverished stopped Mama from finishing school, it also stopped the
dream she and her family desired. In the quote, the author states, They always told us that one
day we would move into a house, a real house that would be ours for always so we wouldnt
have to move each year,[] This was the house Papa talked about when he held a lottery ticket
and this was the house Mama dreamed up in the stories she told us before we went to
bed(Cisneros 4) Through the quote, the author describes the familys ambition of wanting a real
home that would be theirs forever, yet due to the poverty they currently lived in, that home may
never appear. The quote also tells the reader of Mama dreaming of that home, even telling stories
to her children before they went to bed, and signifying the anticipation Mama receives from
deliberating about it. An examination of the quote reveals the effect of the poverty, causing the
family to move from one house to the other, and not being able to stay at a real house for a long
period of time. In addition, the previous homes also lacked the appliances a real home would
provide. We had to leave the flat on Loomis quick. The water pipes broke and the landlord
wouldnt fix them because the house was too old( Cisneros 4). A home contains a multitude of
emotions and experiences. From a bad experience, to a good experience, a home is a safe haven
for most. Mama, however, wishes to live in a safe haven with her family, but cannot do so
because of the deficiency they all have to go through. But, without a real home, comes the

uphills and downhills life as to offer. Mama would still be dreaming of a real home, yet as a
means to make up the poverty they encounter, and the difficulty of the home they live in.
An additional mother that has been affected by her experiences and environments would
be Lucille in, Fever 1793. According to the author, When Mother allowed herself a still moment
by the fire on winter nights, I could see sometimes see the face she wore when Father was alive.
Back then Mother smiled at me with her eyes and her laughter and her gentle hands. But no
longer. Life was a battle, and Mother a tired and bitter captain. The captain I had to
obey(Anderson 17). In the quote, the author describes how Lucille was before the death of her
husband. This allowed her to express the happier side to her daughter, Mattie, and not show the
bitterness and frustration she reveals throughout the novel. The quote shows an importance
towards the hardships, and the experiences that formed it, revealing Lucilles bitter personality.
After the death of her husband, Lucille would have to take care of their daughter, Mattie, and run
the family coffeehouse. Without a spouse, it becomes difficult for the other spouse to accomplish
work, depending on how they take the matter. For instance, through Lucilles description of what
she is now, the experiences she faced weighed a heavy toll for her as she shifts from a caring
mother, to a strict, harsh, and pessimistic woman. This then reveals to how it forms her identity.
The sour involvements she had without her husband causes Lucille to not only express her stress
to herself, but also to Mattie. I had a face at the doorway. I had just saved her precious quilt
from disaster, but would she appreciate it? Of course not(Anderson 3). Through the quote,
Mattie expresses her emotions towards her mothers reaction in her saving a special quilt.
Lucilles reaction admits to the bitterness she encounters due to being a widow, along with the
fatigue she would deal with. As the difficulties in Lucille begin to affect her through the burdens

she confronts, it ties in towards how it also affects her identity, revealing the bitterness and harsh
reality Lucille faces through her own life.
Furthermore, through Lucilles hardships on her identity, it can also influence her
perspective on life. As stated by the author, Oh Mattie. Tears welled in Mothers eyes. Dear
God, I was so worried. I couldnt find you, no matter where I looked. I searched and searched
until I fell ill again. I couldnt sleep, I was so afraid you were(Anderson 238). In the quote,
the author proposes the influence Lucille has towards finding Mattie during the fever outbreak.
As she soon catches the fever herself, she realizes the importance to finding her daughter,
displaying the affection, and the emotions towards her intentions. The quote demonstrates the
fondness Lucille has towards Mattie. Through the bitterness and stress Lucille expresses towards
Mattie and the people around her, she did not exactly show her emotional side. Her emotional
side was hidden as a way to hide the sadness she weighed in, and the experiences that caused it.
Lucille felt as though through the situation she was in, life wouldnt offer a chance for her to be
happy once more, and that it would continue to be the same for her case. That is until she begins
to realize the transition and importance from a bitter individual, to a caring mother as Mattie
turns out to have survived the fever outbreak. Im fine, Im fine. Shh. Please dont cry.
Everything is better now. Im home, youre home. You dont have to worry anymore(Anderson
238). Through what Mattie states towards her mother, it reveals the comfort she has to Lucille as
a means to give her the idea that everything is going to be ok, and she wouldnt have to hurt
herself in order to relieve her own stress due to how long she revolved around it. Lucille then
begins to view life as a crooked line. Through her own life, Lucille struggled to face the
hardships and difficulties on her own, and caring for Mattie at the same time. Life can have its
uphills and downhills, yet overtime, an individual can learn to understand what has happened,

and accept it. Lucille, for example, learns to accept the emotions that have occupied her own life,
and view it as a transition from a burden, to a safe haven. The environment she viewed
previously then changes to a more positive note though how she expressed her emotions to the
situation, and realizing the importance of those hardships, and how theyll eventually transition
to a recovery to make up for what has happened.
A mothers environments and experiences can evolve through the search for a better
future in the poem, Women. As stated by the author, Husky of voice - stout of / Step / With
fists as well as / Hands. How they battered down / Doors / And ironed / Starched white /
Shirts(Walker). In the quote, the author describes the experience of which women initiated
themselves to act upon as soldiers to fight for their rights, indicating the determination and
ambition of what they desire. This quote also demonstrates how women fought for equality. In
the past, women were not treated as respectfully compared to men. They were looked down
upon, discriminated for their gender, never receiving the recognition for the hard labor they
completed. It reveals the militant side of women as they transition from a feminine style, to a
more manly behavior to reach for their goals. The quote also shows a way of how experiences
changed a womans identity. Due to the transition to a more manly behavior, it allows women to
experience the opposite side of the initial stereotype they receive. Women are allowed to express
an apprehensive behavior, battering down the barriers of which blocks them from reaching to to
their goals. It also reveals an implied metaphor of which a womans personality can evolve to a
soldiers personality as a man. A soldiers main purpose is serve, and fight for their country as a
means to protect the ones they love. Women have the same intention, but at a different point of
view, whereas they fight for themselves and their children, wanting to break the stereotype, and
receive the equality and rights that they feel as though they deserve.

On the other hand, a search for a better future can also involve women to battle through
situations that can be compared to of a soldier brawling in a battle. In the authors words, How
they led / Armies / Headragged generals / Across mined / Fields / Booby-trapped / Ditches / To
discover books / Desks / A place for us(Walker). In the quote, it clarifies the hardship of women
struggling to reach for their goals, and find a better future, whereas it is being compared to a
soldier in a battlefield. It also identifies a reason behind the struggle; To have an education for
their children. An examination of this quote reveals the difficulties women underwent to not only
fight for their rights and equality, but the right for their own children to receive an education.
Through the fight for the benefit, women would lead each other through the struggles, helping
one another to overcome the obstacles ahead, aggravating for what they desire for themselves,
and their children. Yet, at the end, what they would receive would be the educational desires they
want their children to take, yet not knowing a single thing themselves. The quote also reveals the
determination, and the point of view they have towards life. The women are determined to
accomplish their goals for a better future for themselves, and their children. Yet, wanting
something, can only lead to the effect of the struggles that comes along with it. In a lifetime, an
individual conflicts towards situations that involve physical and emotional attributes to overcome
it. The women in the poem, for instance, struggle through the search for a better future,
signifying an idea towards what life is in reality, and what it offers. The poem displays the
hardships the women had to endure in order to reach for the rights they have yet to grab, and
extinguish for all that do not understand to know. That is to say, especially to men, for their
perspective on life differs from a womans. Men have a superiority towards women, and have a
better chance of accomplishing their intentions, whereas women, above all, would have a lesser
chance to do so. But overall, a womans perspective on life can be viewed as a harsh reality

towards what they want to accomplish for themselves, and their children, tying into the search
for a better future through what they fought for, accomplished, and received because of it.
As evidenced, the experiences and environments of the mothers affect their identity, and
their perspective on life. For instance, through Mamas experiences of poverty, it reveals her as
an anguished woman, regretting the actions she applied to towards dropping out of school, and
considering life as a piece of broken glass for it broke her dream to have a real home. That is to
say, through the involvement of poverty, it affected Mama as a way of pulling her back from
reaching to her potential, and making her regret the decisions she made. Likewise, in Lucilles
actuality, she experiences the hardships of being a widow, and running a business along with her
daughter, causing her personality to transition from a sweet, happy woman, to a bitter, stressed
out mother. Regarding the fact of Lucille being stressed, it also alters her view towards life as a
crooked line. Specifically, due to the hardship she experiences, and the heavy burden she bares, it
allows her picture life as an imperfect channel of troubles, yet overtime, as Lucille begins to
overcome those troubles, she leans to a more positive note, accepting her emotions towards the
situations. Lastly, in a similar way, the mothers from the poem, Women, result through a
similar fate. As they experience the fight for the rights of themselves, and their children, their
identity shifts from a feminine side, to a more manly behavior. That is to say, if someone wants
to receive something, they have to work for it. This also affects their view on life as a reality
involving both physical and emotional perseverance as a way to search for a better future. Thus,
through the stories, they all revolve around the lives of mothers, helping their children transition
from childhood to adulthood, yet a cost. The women would have to be exposed to the difficulties
of being a mother, and what it takes to help their child grow. Their experiences, and the
environment they abide become a heavy toll to what they become of themselves, and how they

view the reality of being a mother. Yet, the struggles the mothers in the stories face are all for
their children. They want their children to grow and develop, becoming a better person, and have
the strength to move forward. The mothers also want the children to become adults like them, but
better in a way of which theyll be able to be on their own, help others, and raise their own
children. Theyll even teach their own children to do the same thing, a process that continues on
and on in an everlasting world with a society that views mothers through a multiple of
perspectives, with a multiple of ideas.

Works Cited
Anderson, Laurie Halse. Fever, 1793. New York: Simon & Schuster for Young Readers, 2000.
Print.
Cisneros, Sandra. House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.
Walker, Alice. Women. Holt Literature and Language Arts. Austin, TX: Holt, Rinehart,
Winston, 1998.

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