Growing Up in "The House on Mango Street" Analytical Essay by Kiran23

Growing Up in "The House on Mango Street"
An analysis of "The House on Mango Street", by Sandra Cisneros.
# 154073 | 844 words | 1 source | 2014 | US
Published on Nov 16, 2014 in English (General) , Literature (General) , Art (General)

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From the Paper:

"In the 'House on Mango Street', author Sandra Cisneros connects the theme of growing up to a house which symbolizes the desire for freedom, for self-actualization, for redressing humiliation and for gaining respectability. As Esperanza grows up, it is her house through which she gains understanding of herself, her conditions and her place in society. Esperanza is a young girl yearning for a "white house" as her own personal place. This house doesn't signify a physical space but rather some place that can be a representative of Esperanza's dreams and her personality. "We didn't always live on Mango Street. Before that we lived on Loomis on the third floor and before that we lived on Keeler..." (p. 7 )
"Growing up on Mango street is significant only because of the house and what it means to Esperanza. She learned a great deal about herself and others due to this house. Not only is the house important, but the conditions that caused them to move around so often are also worth pondering. It is because the family couldn't afford a house of their own that they had to move in and out of various houses. That intensified the desire of the family to have a house of their house especially Esperanza whose desire is most pronounced. Esperanza, the protagonist of the novel, is a young child whose sense of self respect is often dented by the humiliating comments made by others. She grows up believing that her sense of self worth is closely connected with having a house of her own- a white house "with trees around it, a great big yard and grass growing without a fence" (p. 8)
"This desire is further fuelled by the hurtful comments people made regarding her living conditions and her house. A nun at her school frowned as she pointed to her house, "You live there?" "There. I had to look where she pointed--the third floor, the paint peeling, wooden bars Papa had nailed on the windows so we wouldn't fall out. You live there? The way she said it made me feel like nothing . . ." (p. 9). The lines demonstrate the racial and social bias that young Esperanza encountered and it is only natural then to want a more decent dwelling in a respectable neighborhood instead of the one that she lived in. The fact that the num pointed to the house with disgust expresses the humiliation directed at the child."

Sample of Sources Used:

  • It is highly interesting that house in this novel doesn't only represent the physical house but also the imaginary dwelling in the mind that Esperanza escapes to in order to alleviate the anguish. The house is thus a place of escape for her. When the reality becomes too unbearable, Esperanza seeks another dwelling. This dwelling exists in her mind and produced by her creative skills. Writing then provides her with the solace and comfort that she had hitherto desired from having a house of her own. As she becomes more interested in writing, the reality becomes much easier to bear. This signifies her departure from the house on Mango Street to pursue her creative dreams. She gains understanding of herself in relation with others and her house and finally grows up enough to conclude that it's acceptable to live on the Mango Street if her sad red house gives her love. There is no point in having a big house that doesn't offer peace or happiness.
  • Reference:
  • Sandra Cisneros, The House on Mango Street (Houston: Arte P'blico Press, 1985).

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