About this sample
About this sample
Words: 851 |
5 min read
Published: Apr 29, 2022
Words: 851|Pages: 2|5 min read
Sandra Cisneros, the celebrated author of "The House on Mango Street," penned this literary gem in 1984, earning her numerous prestigious awards, including the esteemed Columbus Foundation's American Book Award. Cisneros hails from a large Hispanic family, being one of seven children and the sole girl. Her educational background is noteworthy, having obtained an English degree from the University of Iowa. Beyond "The House on Mango Street," Cisneros has contributed significantly to literature, with works like "Women Hollering Creek and Other Stories," which also garnered various prestigious awards.
The novel, "The House on Mango Street," invites readers into the world of Esperanza, a young Hispanic girl navigating the complexities of her life. From a tender age, Esperanza grapples with the challenges that come her way. The story commences with her family's frequent relocations during her early years until they settle in a modest house on Mango Street when she is just six years old. Esperanza provides a glimpse into her traditional Hispanic family, which includes her father, mother, brother Carlos, and sisters Kiki and Neni. She paints a vivid picture of their small red house, devoid of a yard but featuring a front stoop and a garage empty of any vehicle. Mango Street, their neighborhood, is situated in a low-income area, prompting the residents to exercise caution about their surroundings.
Esperanza's narrative offers insight into cultural nuances, such as her observations about the differences between Mexicans and Puerto Ricans. She recounts a memorable incident involving her friend Meme's cousin, driving a magnificent yellow Cadillac, an experience that exposed her to a level of luxury she was unaccustomed to. Their joyride takes a dramatic turn when they hear sirens and Meme's cousin flees, ultimately leading to his arrest. This event serves as a reflection of the challenges faced in low-income neighborhoods, including encounters with criminal elements. Esperanza also explores the perceptions of tourists who enter their neighborhood, often viewing its residents with trepidation due to misguided stereotypes.
Esperanza's pursuit of education leads her to a Catholic school, where her father's relentless efforts secure the necessary funds for her and her siblings to attend. The novel delves into traditional customs, such as women rising early to make tortillas. A poignant moment in the book centers around a baptismal party, a significant event in Catholic tradition. Esperanza vividly describes the beautiful dress her mother purchased for her, though time constraints prevent the acquisition of the desired shoes. She attends the party in clunky brown shoes, initially too embarrassed to dance. However, with her uncle's encouragement, she overcomes her self-consciousness and dazzles everyone with her dance.
Towards the conclusion of the book, Esperanza shares the harrowing story of her friend Sally, who becomes a victim of rape. Sally's life takes a distressing turn as she marries at a young age, well before eighth grade. The marriage is marked by abuse, with Sally's husband exerting control over her, isolating her from others and managing their finances. This portrayal echoes prevalent issues within Hispanic cultures, where early marriages and notions of female submission persist.
"The House on Mango Street" adeptly captures the essence of the Hispanic culture, portraying its traditions, familial bonds, and daily struggles accurately. Cisneros's portrayal of Esperanza's father as a diligent provider and her mother's dedication resonates with the experiences of many Hispanic families. The novel delves into cultural rituals surrounding death, recounting Esperanza's father's trip to Mexico after her grandfather's passing and her family's memories of her late aunt Lupe.
Esperanza emerges as a central character, serving as the narrator who guides readers through the tapestry of traditions and cultures in which she is immersed. The tender moment when her father informs her of her grandfather's death, revealing his vulnerability, leaves a lasting impression.
While researching Sandra Cisneros's work and "The House on Mango Street," we encountered a thought-provoking article by Hayee Riveras that discusses the novel's unique classification and narrative style. Riveras suggests that Cisneros's work defies traditional categorization, resembling a blend of history and poetry. The article underscores the idea that the novel serves as a window into Cisneros's life, offering readers an intimate perspective on her experiences.
In summary, "The House on Mango Street" effectively encapsulates the Hispanic family experience in the 1980s. Cisneros masterfully portrays the rich tapestry of traditions and values that define Hispanic culture. This novel is highly recommended for middle and high school students, as it dispels stereotypes associated with Hispanic communities and highlights the beauty of their cultural heritage, illuminating it against the backdrop of everyday life.
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