The House On Mango Street Shoes Analysis

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The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a story of a young Mexican girl growing up in the United States. Her name is Esperanza, and the novel takes the reader into her mind and heart as she reminisces about her childhood and what she hoped for in her future. Throughout the novel, Cisneros uses various symbols to highlight the inner conflicts within Esperanza. One of those symbols is shoes. Cisneros uses shoes symbolically throughout the novel to represent parts of Esperanza’s thoughts, emotions, and dreams as she undergoes a transformation from childhood innocence to the realities of adulthood. The first instance of shoes as a symbol occurs in the chapter “The Family of Little Feet.” Esperanza and her friends are given a paper …show more content…

. . scuffed and round, and the heels all crooked that look dumb with this dress” (47). Esperanza is so ashamed of the shoes that she doesn’t want to dance. This incident with her shoes connects with her feelings about so many other things in her life like the house she wants. Her parents told her one day they would move “into a house, a real house that would be ours for always . . . that would have running water and pipes that worked . . . and at least three washrooms so when we took a bath we wouldn’t have to tell everybody” (4). The houses she has lived in are ones she is ashamed of like the one on Loomis that the nun pointed out, “You live there? The way she said it made me feel like nothing. There. I lived there” (5). Another thing she was ashamed of was her name. She says, “It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color” (10). The shoes she is ashamed of are brown and she calls her name “a muddy color” (10). She wants something flashier and prettier like her dress, “something like Zeze the X” …show more content…

It’s “not a man’s house. Not a daddy’s. A house all my own” (108). In this house will be “My books and my stories. My two shoes waiting beside the bed” (108). The house of her dreams will be her house because she doesn’t want to be controlled by a man as so many of the women in her stories were. The shoes waiting beside her bed could represent her old life that is still a part of her, but which no longer binds her down since they are beside the bed and not on her feet. This new house could represent the freedom she feels when she writes her stories. When she writes her stories down, “Mango says goodbye” and that old house “does not hold me with both arms. She sets me free” (110). But the shoes are still there, so even though Esperanza will “go away” with “all those books and paper,” she will not forget her past (represented by the shoes next to her bed). This is shown in the final sentences of the book, “They will not know I have gone away to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out” (110). The stories Esperanza shares while on Mango Street allow the reader to see a transformation from childhood innocence to a realization of what the adult world has in store for her. The author’s use of shoes throughout this transformation helps connect these events that shape that transformation. The shoes symbolically show the feelings,

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