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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raHe searched everywhere for those shoes, those perfect tan ones with that fabric flower that fit him just right. The closet, underneath his bed, in the pile of clean clothes he meant to fold a week ago. They were nowhere to be found, completely gone from the face of the Earth, leaving Cal Hampton barefooted and discouraged. It was only eight in the morning and his room was more of a mess than it usually was, plus, worst of all, he didn 't have a single pair of shoes that matched the floral skirt settled upon his waist. He bought it just for that damn pair, those adorable, dainty tan shoes, and now, the thing was useless.
Throughout the story, Esperanza is sexually abused several times. In the vignette, “The Family of Little Feet,” Esperanza and her friends wear fancy shoes to feel like adult women. While fun at first,
They are amazed at how the shoes suddenly have the attractiveness of a woman. Until a man warns them about how the shoes are not for little girls, and when they ignore them, other men tease them with sexual comments. Rachel also gets flirted on by a drunken bum and he tries to kiss her for a dollar, so the girls run back to Mango Street and hide the shoes where their mother throws them away. Cisneros uses figurative language many times throughout The House on Mango Street, in this quote she uses allusions, “Hurray! Today we are Cinderella because our feet fit exactly, and we laugh at Rachel's one foot with a girl's grey sock and a lady's high heel.”
Growing up as a young female teen came be hard due to the stress and peer pressure of appearance. For teenage girls from immigrant families, it came be very challenging to fit in with the “American way”. Esperanza struggles throughout the book with finding her place in society. She looks to other female role models in her community for guidance, where she finds different results. Most of Esperanza’s female role models on Mango Street have unique stories to tell of their experiences with men on Mango Street.
In Sandra Cisneros' "The House on Mango Street," the concept that all kids have to grow up and lose their childhood innocence is conveyed through symbolic language. Cisneros provides an evocative and fascinating portrait of adolescence by employing figurative language such as metaphor, simile, and personification. The house on Mango Street is used as a metaphor numerous times throughout the novel, and it is one of the most powerful literary devices. The heroine, Esperanza, associates the house with her family's poverty and the restrictions this places on her.
Esperanza’s house on Mango Street is not the house she dreamed on when she lived on Loomis Street, not the kind of house her parent’s talked about, not the house she wanted. Her house on Mango Street is a small, red house with even smaller stairs leading to the door. The brick are falling out of place and to get inside, one must shove the door, swollen like Esperanza’s feet in later vignettes, open. Once inside, where you are never very far from someone else, there are small hallway stairs that lead to the only one shared bedroom and bathroom. This house is just, “For the time being,” Esperanza claims, for this is nothing like the house she longs for.
Loss of Innocence In the book The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros demonstrates in her writing how a child can be forced to mature too rapidly. Esperanza encounters sexism, racism, and discrimination towards the poor that impacted her paradigm of the world around her. The motif occurring throughout the novel is how a young girl must become a woman before they are ready. In the chapter “The Monkey Garden”, Esperanza makes one of her final transitions into the woman, her environment forces her to be, this is shown by the change of her opinion of her shoes, the realization of woman accepting manipulation by men, and her loss of childlike interest in the Monkey Garden.
The House on Mango Street is a touching and timeless tale told in short vignettes. It tells the story of a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago. Her life, and the lives of the people around her, are laid bare to the readers in this touching novella. In the beginning, Esperanza is not accepting of herself. Her family’s poor financial situation, the sadness of the people around her, and the problems she faces in her daily life make her very cynical.
Esperanza is often humiliated not only by where she lives, but also by her physical appearance, hence causing a restriction in her climb to a higher social class. Esperanza is frequently ashamed of her family’s broken-down house in an urban, poor
The main protagonist Esperanza, matures from a childish girl to a young confident woman through many critical and life changing events in the story. Ultimately, the author, Sandra Cisneros implements the symbols of confidence, the house on mango street and the metaphor of shoes to show how Esperanza develops into a more mature state. Sandra Cisneros
In the series of vignettes The House on Mango Street, the author Sandra Cisneros details the life of main character Esperanza, a young girl living in a barrio of Chicago. As Esperanza tells the reader about her experiences in her day to day life, the reader hears about her struggles and dreams, her hopes and expectations in life and how these affect her. Being a young girl, Esperanza holds naivety and hope for the world, not having experienced many mature situations or society yet, and since she is going through the time in her life when she begins experiencing these issues, we see her heartbreak and the world she knew shatter. For example, when Esperanza and her family move to Mango Street, as our story kicks off, her parents would often talk about the life that they would get when they win the lottery, like having “A real house that would be ours for always so we wouldn't have to move each year. And our house would have running water and pipes that worked.
Esperanza and her family are always moving because they do not have much money, but they finally moved into a house on Mango Street where they “Don’t have to pay rent to anybody, or share the yard with the people downstairs, or be careful not to make too much noise” (703). Although it sounded like a nice place, when a nun from her school saw where Esperanza lived, she said, “You live there?” (703). That made Esperanza feel like nothing and made her realize she needs a real house, one that is really nice. Esperanza wants to change her life and make the best of what she has.
The first awakening Esperanza experiences is maturing from childhood and becoming a young women. In the chapter “The Family of little Feet” Esperanza
The House on Mango Street is set in a poor, primarily Hispanic neighborhood. Author Sandra Cisneros creates an atypical, yet easily digestible world for the reader to experience while learning about Esperanza’s childhood. The culture of her environment influences Esperanza’s development as she becomes a young woman, and contributes to the book’s driving theme of self-empowerment. Mango Street is the source of Esperanza’s growth through her childhood, and it hides sadness and longing underneath stereotypes of Hispanic people. The characters that live in the broken-down neighborhood all seem to represent pigeonholed views of Latino individuals.
Believe it or not, people are not entirely unique. It is certain that no one is truly the same as another person, but it would not be ridiculous to think that everyone does in fact share many similarities. After all, the majority of the population grows and develops opinions or values based on what they see or hear. For Esperanza, the protagonist of Sandra Cisneros’s, The House on Mango Street, the perspective she has is built upon her childhood on Mango Street. This coming-of-age novel illustrates how Esperanza’s experiences on Mango Street play an important role during her period of growth.