Symbols in Sandra Cisneros "The House on Mango Street"

Essay by titanicUniversity, Bachelor's October 2008

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I. Introduction“It’s 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 (...).” Esperanza Cordero, the main character and narrator of Sandra Cisneros’ novel The House on Mango Street introduces the reader to her family’s house on Mango Street. In short vignettes, the reader gets to know about her life on Mango Street. At the beginning of the Female Ethnic Bildungsroman, Esperanza is a young Chicana girl, who just moved with her family into the house in the Latino section of Chicago. Esperanza tells the stories of her neighbours, her friends and about the experiences she makes. Some people make her feel ashamed because of her home and her cultural background.

Represented as a shy girl, who doesn’t want to belong to her neighbourhood and the prospects, her future has for her, she tells the reader about her dream to leave one day Mango Street and have a real home. While Esperanza tells the stories of her neighbourhood, the reader can see her growing up; how she gets into puberty, when she has got her first sexual experiences and see her becoming a woman. Finally Esperanza finds her own way to get along with her life on Mango Street.

When Esperanza tells about her life she uses different symbols to describe more personally her feelings, dreams and thoughts. The main symbol, which stands above everything, is the symbol of the house. Following I’m going to analyse the symbol of the house which can be divide into subitems. Esperanza compares the house to the symbols home,