Symbolic Items in The House on Mango Street

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Sandra Cisneros, author of The House on Mango Street has sold over six million copies, in multiple different languages. The classic coming of age novel has not only impacted women but also the Latino culture. The novel was adored by especially the teachers as well as the public when it first was published. The publication of the novel played a role in the acceptance of other cultures in America, especially Latino. Many people came to a better understanding of Latino life when reading the novel. Critics cherished the way Cisneros incorporated the relationship between the public and the Latino culture.

The symbolism of the Latino culture creates such a powerful influence on her identity. When writing the novel Cisneros never expected the public to mistake the protagonist, Esperanza, for herself. This made a unique writing style for Cisneros, and she tried to make minor characters more important and impactful. Cisneros pulled more literary devices into her writing to really connect with the reader on an intimate level. The House on Mango Street was when Cisneros found her voice and was able to connect and inspire people through her writing. She was looking for philosophy in her politics and direction as she wrote, The House on Mango Street.

Throughout the novel, there were many symbolic items and ideologies that had to be picked up to understand and enjoy the novel fully. Cisneros was, “inflected by race, class, culture, but especially and above all, by space”(Literary Reference Center). Also, Cisneros’s Hispanic background provides a cultural difference between her and Americans, which puts her with the working class which can cause altercations involving the law. (IN-TEXT CITATION). “the house I belong but do not belong to” (Cisneros [1984] 1991, 109-10), Esperanza becomes to have an alienation because she is confused and has no one to guide her through life. This becomes a dividing line with herself and the world.

Moreover, the symbolism in Esperanza’s maturing is represented in the relationship with the community and the high heeled shoes she wears to make her feel more “womanly”, which offers an insight into her character growth. Cisneros struggle growing up because she had no mentor, she had to rely on others in the community to help raise the women she had become today. Mango Street, along with the Latino culture that are in it, cannot be separated from the construction of Esperanza’s subjectivity. Esperanza approaching puberty, with its longings and confusion, she watches over Barrio and likes to observe, especially of the adults and their actions.

Also, she has a spectacular ability to be able to understand her friends, family, and her town emotions. One major theme that was essential to the novel besides the shoes, were “The Three Sisters”. Esperanza had an invasion of her dream house when she becomes older. One of the examples she had listed was her shoes that were beside the bed. The displays that one big goal she wants to accomplish is growing into her own sexuality. “When you leave you must remember to come back for the others. A circle, understand? You will always be Esperanza. You will always be Mango Street. You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are”(page 112 Cisneros). In this quote Minerva, a minor character in the novel is explaining how the small Latino neighborhood will always be apart of who she had become.

In the novel, there are many minor character that brings a great deal of importance to not only Esperanza but the novel as a whole.

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Symbolic Items in The House on Mango Street. (2020, Sep 20). Retrieved from https://samploon.com/symbolic-items-in-the-house-on-mango-street/

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