After having read the novel “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros I will now concentrate on the background of the novel that moved Sandra Cisneros to write it by investigating the novel with special regard to its different dimensions.
1. The Novel
The novel “The House on Mango Street” is written by Sandra Cineros. It deals with family, neighbourhood and dreams of a young Mexican girl, Esperanza Cordero growing up in Chicago. The novel begins when the Corderos move into a new house on Mango Street in the Latino section of Chicago. The fact that it is the first house they have ever owned, make them proud. But when Esperanza sees it, she is disappointed by the red, dilapidated house. It is not the one their parents told them nor Esperanza dreamt of.
Esperanza is not just dissatisfied with her home, but she is also ashamed of her appearance and of her name, which is always mispronunced, and sounds if the syllables were made of tin and if they were a punishment for the ears. Esperanza was named after her great-grandmother, who was forced to marry and sentenced to a life full of sadness. But Esperanza swears that she will not have the same destiny like her great-grandmother. Esperanza longs for a name that fits to her, that expresses her identity: “Zeze the X” (Cisneros, p.11).
In time, she notices how joyful and harsh reality can be in life. Her first friendship is just a brief one because Cathy’s familiy soon moves away because of the neighbourhood, that becomes more inhabited by lower-class, people like Esperanza’s family.
By contributing five dollars for a bike, Esperanza is included in the circle of friends of two younger sisters. By Lucy and Rachel, Esperanza is introduced in the wonders of growing up by talking about clouds, hips and parading around Mango Street in high-heeled shoes.
By the older kids, Esperanza can observe the hardships young people are confronted with in rough neighbourhoods: Louie’s car theft, the death of a boy by an accident Marin gets to know, and Marin’s desperate attempt to find a husband she can escape from this place. All these things open Esperanza’s eyes and show her the limited chances which are offered and she had in such a neighbourhood.
Alicia, on the other hand, is an exemple for the less who leave nothing to his fate, but take the initiative. Despite her father’s view, she goes to the university and studies all the night hoping to leave the house one day.
Equal to the novel’s progress, Esperanza gets to know her sexuality. She gets excited when boys look at her on the streets. But her illusion of true love is destroyed by sexual violence. Her friend Sally’s behaviour towards boys contributes to Esperanza’s caution and distance by dealing with the opposite sex, too. Nevertheless, Esperanza does not stop dreaming of leaning against a car with her boyfriend in a place where that does not bother anyone. But she has set her standards higher than most of the women...