As children grow into young adults they face the most predominant times of turbulence of their lives. Children are exposed more and more to domestic violence, death and racism while dealing with their own sexuality, creativity and relationships as they grow older. These young people have dreams and during this period of time is where they make them become a reality. During this period in their lives is also where the separation from the parent or parents and rebellion against authority is seen. Yet some do not rebel or separate from the parents entirely. For the poor young people in Brewster Place and Mango Street, reality is harsh. They all live in poverty, therefore their families struggle with the hardships of the poor in large cities. Cisneros and Naylor both illustrate the hardships and changes the young people go through as well as the struggles they face in reaching their goals. Many of the characters were similar in the way they carried on their lives and in their hopes and dreams. In contrasting The Women of Brewster Place and The House on Mango Street, no two characters share similar experiences yet have completely different qualities at the same time as C.C. Baker and Esperanza.
Esperanza has a dream of her family someday having a house all their own, consequently she wants somewhere safe and luxurious to live. She is growing as an artist at this time and is beginning to write poetry. Esperanza lives in a patriarchal society just like those in Brewster. She is just entering puberty and her sexual relations with men begin to appear in the development of her artistic side. She needs a secure place that would allow her to express herself without opening up to sexual behavior. She does though and is raped in the process. This is not a direct effect of her opening herself up but the combination of her weakness and the sexual aggression of the male dominated society.
The opposite effect occurs in The Women of Brewster Place with C.C. Baker. He has found his safe haven in the alley at the end of the street. He finds sanctuary with the other members of the gang and in that small space between the last building and the large wall separating them from the other side. However, he is similar in the fact that his sanctuary is still not a safe or clean place to be so the tin cans, soda bottles, and loose papers were still. There wasn t even a stray cat or dog rummaging in the garbage for scraps. (Naylor, 171-172) Naylor gives the impression that the alley that C.C. hung out in was filthy, almost a dump. C.C. was satisfied with his surroundings whereas Esperanza would not have been with the same.
Esperanza believes that one s home can communicate something about oneself to the outside world; therefore she longs to have a home that accurately represents her. Being poor and Hispanic, she is subject to ridicule for the places she lives. She wants a house that is safe, clean and free of the poverty-stricken places she has always lived in. C.C. on the other hand is merely looking for a place to fit in. He came from the same destitute place that she did. But she had of pride and togetherness about her and her family whereas C.C. did not. He never had a family or a home before he came to the gang he hangs around, subsequently the alley in Brewster have become quite homely to him.
Both C.C. and Esperanza use their sexuality for self-expression, but for totally different reasons. C.C. uses his in a violent, forceful and macho way, as he was never taught any better. Esperanza on the other hand has been taught to suppress her sexuality though she is just beginning puberty and of course cannot help her tendencies. While C.C. gets what he wants from a physical standpoint out of his sexuality by raping Lorraine, Esperanza uses her sexuality as means of interpretation in some of her poetry. The same sexual aggression is seen in the males in Brewster that we do on Mango Street.
Through struggles with sexuality, poverty, violence and their own psychological battles, C.C. and Esperanza in part found their own niche and home. Even though C.C. chose a different and very wrong path, he has become satisfied with his choice. Esperanza is not satisfied with her place at the moment; she and her family have a stable home, whereas C.C. does not, even though he is satisfied with his. Their struggles are worlds apart and yet the same.