Dichotomy In Sandra Cisneros's The House On Mango Street

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In Sandra Cisneros’ “The House on Mango Street,” the chapter, The Monkey Garden, describes Esperanza playing in the garden with Sally and a few of the boys when things take a turn Esperanza is uncomfortable with. At times, Esperanza is naïve and inexperienced, but other times, she exudes an awareness of someone much older. This awareness comes to light multiple times throughout the novel and Sally is often a catalyst of this awareness – this chapter is no exception. The Monkey Garden showcases the dichotomy that lies within Esperanza; the dichotomy of being both innocent and intuitive, both aware and naïve. Esperanza begins this chapter with a keen awareness. She says, “Things had a way of disappearing in the garden, as if the garden itself ate them, or as if with its old-man memory, it put them away and forgot them” (Cisneros 95). The garden does not begin as a place of fun, but rather we see that Esperanza is wary of its mystery. Moreover, the personification of this garden, “eating things up” adds a level of anxiety to this particular story. The tone immediately darkens and we find that the setting is directly related to the tone of the chapter. The garden itself casts shadows over the scenes in which it is present. Esperanza is aware that if something might happen within the garden, it might not come out of it, and then she follows with, “This is where I wanted to die and where I tried one day but not even the monkey garden would have me” (Cisneros 96). This line is

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