Family Poverty in The House on Mango Street Summary

This is FREE sample
This text is free, available online and used for guidance and inspiration. Need a 100% unique paper? Order a custom essay.
  • Any subject
  • Within the deadline
  • Without paying in advance
Get custom essay

When you imagine what it’s like to live in poverty, you think of life in a run-down apartment, dirty ripped up clothing, and an overall somber feeling throughout the entire household. But can you imagine moving from house to house; and the never-ending promises to your children for a better life just to keep hope alive? Well, that was the family that lived in the house on mango street. The family that lived on mango street had to endure a life of poverty.

The house on Mango Street is a short story about a family of six that must move from house to house to survive. Each house they rent manages to have some form of issues from broken water pipes to neighbors banging on their ceiling as a reminder to keep the noise down. The parents of the family doing the best they could to provide for their family. To them, it means moving multiple times and promising their children a life in a house that is their own and isn’t falling apart at the seams.

When the narrator stated “But the house on Mango Street is not the way they told it at all. It is small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you’d think they were holding their breath. Bricks are crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in. There is no front yard, only four little elms the city planted by the curb. Outback is a small garage for the care we don’t own yet and a small yard that looks smaller between the two buildings on either side… Everybody has to share a bedroom-Mama and Papa, Carlos and Kiki, me and Nenny.” (Cisneros 191). To me I believe that is statement is saying that even though the family finally owns the house that they live in, it is not at all the house that the parents promised to the children.

The family simply could not afford to live in the house that they dreamed of living in. The narrator chose to compare their dream with the reality of things mainly by pointing out all aspects of their house that would be deemed as negatives. While reading such a statement, you could almost hear the disappointment in the narrator’s tone as they describe every detail of the house which paints a picture of the type of life this family lives. The house they live in only has one bedroom which a person can conclude that the family did not have enough money to pay for a house with multiple bedrooms considering there are six members in the household. A family of six with no space and no real privacy and a negative outlook on the living situation only shows that the family could be happier in a different house, but they had to settle.

I personally can connect with this short story because I myself have grown up in poverty as a child, so the promises of a better life were heard more than once and having your dreams shattered by reality hits close to home not only for myself but for many unfortunate people in society. This narrator speaks in a way that you can just connect with and relate to story even if the details would be different. It’s the hopes and dreams of a child that slowly grows to understand how you don’t always get what you want no matter how hard you dream.

The narrator also stated “I knew then I had to have a house. A real house. One that I could point to. But this isn’t it. The house on Mango Street isn’t it. For the time being, Mama says. Temporary, says Papa. But I know how those things go.” (Cisneros 192). I believe that this last paragraph points out that this child had finally come to terms with the fact that their family is poor, so the parent’s use of words such as ‘temporary’ or ‘for the time being’ has become something repetitive so it no longer holds the same meaning it one had when the narrator was more ignorant to the situation. It was only when an outside perspective cast a light on the truth of how the narrator and the family were living.

It was then when the narrator had a moment of growth when understanding that where they lived just simply wasn’t good enough their family. That although they lived in poverty, one-day things would change for the better. “The narrator tells the story of the moment she realized she had to have a real house: one day, while she is playing in front of the apartment on Loomis, a nun from her school passes and asks where she lives. She points to the third floor of the worn, paint-peeled building, and the nun says: “You live there?” The narrator decides she needs to have a real house that she can point to without feeling ashamed.” (Shmoop Editorial Team). This outside source summarizes the last paragraph that points out the feeling of being ashamed of where the narrator lives because it was poverty that made the narrator feel such a way even when having a roof over their head and clothes on their back. It was poverty that has given birth to such emotions from the narrator.

Although the narrator had expectations that the next house they would live in would be of the stories that their parents talked about, those expectations were shattered when the house on Mango Street was just another disappointment. The narrator learned that living a life of poverty meant putting your hopes and dreams on hold because despite wanting something bad enough, your desires weren’t good enough to make actual changes. It is Poverty the family endures on their journey to the house on Mango Street.

Work Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. “The House on Mango Street.” Backpack Literature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry, Drama, and Writing.5th ed. Ed. Kennedy, X.J. and Dana Gioia. Boston: Pearson. 2016, 190-192. Print
Shmoop Editorial Team. “The House on Mango Street Chapter 1 Summary.” Shmoop. Shmoop University, Inc., 11 Nov. 2008. Web. 5 May 2019.

Cite this paper

Family Poverty in The House on Mango Street Summary. (2020, Sep 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/family-poverty-in-the-house-on-mango-street/



How is Esperanza poor?
As a young girl growing up in a poor neighborhood in Mexico, Esperanza lacks access to basic resources such as clean water, adequate housing, and education. Additionally, her family's financial struggles and her father's death leave them struggling to make ends meet.
How is poverty shown in The House on Mango Street?
In The House on Mango Street, poverty is shown through the struggles of the main character, Esperanza, and her family. They live in a run-down house in a poor neighborhood and Esperanza is embarrassed by her circumstances.
Is Esperanza poor in The House on Mango Street?
Yes, Esperanza is poor. She lives in a run-down house on Mango Street with her family.
We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. By continuing we’ll assume you’re on board with our cookie policy

Peter is on the line!

Don't settle for a cookie-cutter essay. Receive a tailored piece that meets your specific needs and requirements.

Check it out