Sample Theme Paragraph “The Family of Little Feet” from Sandra Cisneros’ novel, The House on Mango Street, reveals that growing up too early can be dangerous. In this vignette, Esperanza describes a day on which she, her sister Nenny, and her friends Rachel and Lucy essentially inherit a few pairs of shoes far more mature than the shoes they usually wear. They prance around the neighborhood, appreciating the newfound attention from boys and the jealous looks from girls, excited that they suddenly have grown-up legs. At the corner grocery store, however, Mr. Benny appears appalled that the girls are wearing such mature shoes, calling the shoes “dangerous” (41). He seems to understand that the girls are too young to be strutting around their neighborhood, though the girls just run away from him, not realizing the truth in his statement. Because he is older and has experienced more, Mr. Benny recognizes the danger of the girls’ situation. The girls like that the shoes are elongating their legs and making them seem more attractive, but they don’t realize that the shoes will also cause unwanted and inappropriate attention. For instance, one boy on a bike calls out to them, asking them to take him to heaven. Normally, this boy probably would have ignored the girls, seeing them as children with childlike shoes and clothes. Now, though, the boy sees them as sexual beings, even though their ages should not warrant such a classification. In addition, the girls encounter a “bum man” who calls Rachel pretty and offers her a dollar to kiss him. Suddenly, the girls feel uncomfortable and scared by the “bum man’s” offers, so they run away and go home. With their shoes, the girls are transformed into women before they are ready and are placed in unpleasant and potentially dangerous situations. When they get home, the girls take off the shoes and are “tired of being beautiful” (42), seeming to recognize that they are not actually ready to be women. Happy to be girls once again, no one even complains when the shoes are thrown out. Indeed, in “The Family of Little Feet” from The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Esperanza and her friends certainly discover the dangers of growing up too early.
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