She tells how she left school because she had no nice clothes to wear and only when it was too late did she see the mistake she had made. She recognizes that in the context of the barrio, or any poor neighborhood, feminine sexuality is equated with vulnerability: "I was writing about it [the barrio] in the most real sense I knew, as a person walking those neighborhoods with a vagina," she says in reference to her subject in The House on Mango Street.
These themes of trespass, transgression, and joyful abandon feature prominently in her poetry. Cisneros, along with many of her Chicana sisters, confronts the twin difficulties of writing as a woman and as a Chicana every time she begins to write.
As Esperanza imagines, Marin is "waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life" From "the filth goddess Tlazolteotl … the swallower of sins … the lust goddess without guilt" to the Virgin, this poem and the subjectivity it describes aspire toward a kind of unity that can never be unitary, that is always predicated on conflict, the "Aztec love of war," the "pre-Columbian death and destruction," the "rain forest disaster, nuclear threat … Mexico City '85 earthquake," extremes of passion.
It is as a writer that Esperanza must struggle to make that difference, because politicians will not. Such women experience the world in a series of vignettes which permit no unifying structure.
In her essay "Cactus Flowers" Cisneros describes the courage it takes to define oneself as a Chicana writer: To admit you are a writer takes a great deal of audacity. In her essay "Cactus Flowers: In Search of Tejana Feminist Poetry" Cisneros questions the playful tone of some Chicana feminist poetry that dares to criticize Chicano men only to a certain point, a point from which the poet can "slip back into the safety zone and say 'just kidding.
To admit you are a feminist takes even greater courage. Did you find something inaccurate, misleading, abusive, or otherwise problematic in this essay example? But this woman, Cisneros's narrator, takes her own peculiar revenge upon her adulterous lover: in his wife's absence she plants around the house a trail of sticky sweets, in places only his wife will look—her makeup bag, her nail polish bottles, her diaphragm case.
Cisneros tells how even a regular job can threaten the concentration of energy necessary for writing.