Type of paper:
Literature, Family, Community, Neighborhood, House, Mango, Street, Women
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The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is told from the first-person perspective. The narrator is Esperanza Cordero, who begins the story as a young, poor girl. Esperanza’s point of view affects the entire story because we see the world through her eyes. If an adult rather than a child, a boy rather than a girl, or someone of another ethnic background or socio-economic class told the story, it would have been very different.
Esperanza has three siblings: two brothers Carlos and Kiki, and one sister Nenny (Cisneros, p. 4). “In English my name means hope. In Spanishit means sadness, it means waiting” (p. 10). Esperanza is Mexican and explains “Mexicans don’t like their women strong” (p. 10). She explains that there is a social separation between boys and girls and her brothers won’t speak to her in public (p. 8). Esperanza references symbols of Christianity throughout the story such as baptism, nuns, and the concept of hell. Her position in her family and her ethnic and religious background color each of her experiences.
The Cordero family’s house on Mango Street is not what Esperanza and her family had always hoped for. Her description of its condition tells the reader that the family is poor (p. 4). Further into the story, Esperanza explains that outsiders who come to the neighborhood are afraid of it, but she feels safe because everyone in the neighborhood is like her. “All brown all around, we are safe” (p. 28). Someone from outside the neighborhood or a third-person point of view would present an entirely different perspective. Esperanza’s point of view both limits the scope and deepens the reader’s understanding of her story.
Cisneros, S. (1991). The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books.
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