Sandra Cisneros’ short story “Linoleum Roses” talks
about Sally, a very young and little girl who manages to escape her parents’
house and her family by getting married. She leaves school and studying so she
can get married to an older man, a marshmallow salesman, whom she met at a
school bazaar. They go to another state where it is legal for girls to get
married before eighth grade. By getting married, Sally escaped her previous
life. However, if we look carefully at Sally’s marriage and her relation with
her husband as in the story, we would doubt that she is living freely.
While the author does not mention the reason that made Sally escape,
Cisneros tells the readers that Sally likes the idea of being a married woman.
She loves looking at the domestic objects that she and her husband own: “the
towels and the toaster, the alarm clock and the drapes”. But she does not
actually see the whole picture, which shows us that Sally herself is becoming
one of these objects that are possessed by her husband.
Sally is also happy because of the fact that “now she gets to buy her own
things”, but only when her husband gives her money. Although Sally claims to be
happy in her new life with her husband, but the life that she is actually
otherwise. Sally got married before eighth grade. This piece of information
indicates a very significant aspect of Sally. Sally is a very young and an inexperienced
teenage girl, who is still considered an immature person. She is “young and not
ready”. Sally still does not have sufficient awareness to make such an important
decision yet. She is simply having a dream about a sweet love story and an
unreal and wrong image of marriage life.
Sally’s husband is a very cruel and strict man. He treats her like an
object more than like a wife -or even a human being. The narrator emphasizes in
the story that Sally is happy. But Sally’s happiness is dependent on her
husband’s mood: “She is happy, except when sometimes her husband gets angry”,
“she gets to buy her own things when her husband gives her money”, “nobody gets
to visit her unless he is working”. Sally’s whole life is controlled by her
husband. He gets angry quickly. He does not have control over himself when he
becomes angry: “and once he broke the door where his foot went through”. So he
is also a violent and aggressive person. Furthermore, he prevents Sally from
talking on the telephone, looking out the window, or hosting her friends,
because he does not like them. Sally stays at home “because she is afraid to go
outside without his permission”, so she spends her time sitting at home,
looking at the things they have and staring at the walls, corners, floor and
ceiling of their house.
To conclude, Sally’s new life as a married woman does not have any atom
of freedom. Her husband isolated her from the whole universe and he cut the
connection between her and the outside world. What in fact happened is that
from her “first prison” by getting herself into another prison, a tighter one.