Esperanza's Coming of Age in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

About this sample

About this sample


Words: 1187 |

Pages: 3|

6 min read

Published: Sep 1, 2020

Words: 1187|Pages: 3|6 min read

Published: Sep 1, 2020

The House on Mango Street is a captivating, yet simplistic read, but also a very deep and complex read. This book does not flow regularly like most books, instead it has short, choppy chapters that can seem very unconnected. Overall, The House on Mango Street does connect and make sense of Esperanza’s coming of age and societal acceptance while living through an impoverished childhood. In The House on Mango Street the author uses powerfully clear imagery, symbolism, and allegory to describe, in vivid detail, her coming of age journey.

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Lavished Literary Style of "The House on Mango Street"

Since this book can be read on a grade schoolers perspective but also a collegiate level, it must be filled with a deeper meaning. Therefore, grade-schoolers can read this text and perceive a fun, weird text, while collegiate readers can dissect the deeper meaning of the text. Reading this book can bring sadness, hope, and joy. It is focused on the freedom rights of minorities and females. There are many references longing to solve these problems and the heroine of the story is Esperanza. She wants to be the difference. The first main topic, and most perpetual, are the houses. Foremost, the topic of houses starts with the title. The House on Mango Street is what seems like going to be a story of an upbringing of a family in a house, by the title alone. Though, the reality is that the book is a story of a girl who feels captured and trapped in her failures and disappointments and where her life is headed. She shows this feeling through the imagery of many female family members being “trapped” in houses. Esperanza, the main character, is determined to have a beautiful house of her own one day, while describing, through the uses of symbolism and imagery, what she does not want to feel or hold in her life. Houses are the object used to describe how Esperanza wants to live her life. There are two main topics with the houses and how she feels; confinement and fantasy. Esperanza starts her life feeling ashamed of her house. She even denies living on Mango Street and describes her house as a “sad, red house.” This shame has connection to the shame felt by Esperanza in her family’s socioeconomic status. Sadly, her shame and family’s shame drove them to stare in awe at the houses in the hills with her friend Cathy. Esperanza’s father says that he dreams of having a house with three bathrooms. Now onto the first mentioned symbol of the houses, confinement. Esperanza uses houses to show the confinement of women in her life. While the symbol of freedom is the balloon. An example of a house owned by a man that is a prison for a woman is Rafaela. She leaned on the windowsills and yearned for release. In this context, windows become an expression of longing, and sort of a teaser of freedom for the women condemned to lives of domestic captivity. “Sire,” was the story in which Esperanza had a “windowsill” experience. She felt condemned and agitated. While in “Sire,” Sally does not get a windowsill and is completely entrapped by her husband. In Esperanza’s mind she has dreamed of a free, female independent house. One with no chores, tilted floors, or loud neighbors. Sally’s reality is so very different from Esperanza’s dream house. Her dream house is not owned and controlled by a man but by her. She states in “A House of My Own” that “not a man’s house,’ is the picture of perfect happiness. This chapter also shows a reference to ‘A Room of One’s Own’ by Virginia Woolf, whom says that a woman needs her own space. Overall, a house is a picture for domestic female captivity in which Esperanza wants to change that and make a house a woman’s own home.

Secondly, we have the topic of the sisters. The House on Mango Street introduced Greek Mythology into the picture with the three sisters that foretold the future of her. These three ancient Greek sisters are called The Fates. According to Greek Mythology: The Fates, “Their names were: Clotho (meaning “The Spinner”), Lachesis (or “The Alloter”) and Atropos (literally “The Unturning” or, more freely, “The Inflexible”). Consistently portrayed as three women spinners, each of the three Fates had a different task, revealed by her very name: Clotho spun the thread of life, Lachesis measured its allotted length, and Atropos cut it off with her shears. Sometimes, each of the Fates was assigned to a specific period of time: Atropos – the past, Clotho –the present, and Lachesis – the future”. According to Ancient Origins, “In some traditions, they show up three days after a child is born in order to foretell the infant’s future. They know everything that will happen to an individual during his lifetime, including the moment he will die, so they’re often associated with destiny and mortality.” With a general understanding now of The Fates, The House on Mango Street depicts Esperanza meeting the three sisters a wake for an infant. The Fates show up because it is a death and Esperanza is there and they are able to sense her feeling of insecurity and misplacement. They take a gamble on her future by examining her palm and give the readers hope that she will actually make it because, once they read her palm they tell her that they see her plan’s to escape Mango Street. This section of the book shows such strong allegory and imagery. The readers can essentially feel The Fates reading their hands. While, The Fates also help give a symbolic meaning to hand reading as to freedom in the near future.

Thirdly, is the topic of Esperanza’s garden. This garden brings a sense of Biblical times along with it. The garden is mentioned during her pre-pubescent years. Esperanza still enjoys being a child but is beginning to wonder about sex and sexual maturity. This points to the loss-of-innocence Garden of Eden comprehension. In the Bible, Genesis, describes a land of purity and happiness where mankind lives at peace with nature in a constant spring season, whilst running naked among all with zero judgment. Mango Street monkey garden is almost the identical image of The Garden of Eden. It is spring and the trees and flowers are blooming and the children believe the garden has been there long before anything else. The garden becomes their refuge from the prying eyes of adults, a “no adults allowed’” safe place.

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Though, just like in The Garden of Eden, the monkey garden becomes corrupt. The garden fills with abandoned cars and weeds, and in The Garden of Eden they eat of the forbidden fruit and realize their shortcomings and then get expelled from the garden. The snake in Esperanza’s story is when she followed Sally to the garden to see her kiss Tito and the boys. This ruined the garden for Esperanza just like the forbidden apple ruined the garden for Adam and Eve. This is just another wonderful story filled with allusions, and vivid imagery, and symbolism.

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Dr. Charlotte Jacobson

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Esperanza’s Coming Of Age In The House On Mango Street By Sandra Cisneros. (2020, September 01). GradesFixer. Retrieved April 17, 2024, from
“Esperanza’s Coming Of Age In The House On Mango Street By Sandra Cisneros.” GradesFixer, 01 Sept. 2020,
Esperanza’s Coming Of Age In The House On Mango Street By Sandra Cisneros. [online]. Available at: <> [Accessed 17 Apr. 2024].
Esperanza’s Coming Of Age In The House On Mango Street By Sandra Cisneros [Internet]. GradesFixer. 2020 Sept 01 [cited 2024 Apr 17]. Available from:
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