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Esperanza in The House on Mango Street Essay


In the book The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisernos the main character is Esperanzais Esperanza. She is a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Esperanza and her family move in to a small run down house on Mango Street. She has a vision of what her dream home should look like. She dreams of a house with a large beautiful backyard, real staircase more than one bathroom, and just a house that she is overall proud to live in. Her house on Mango Street is the complete opposite to her dreams. It is a small red house, with just one washroom, no private backyard or lush green lawns. Esperanza is clear that her house on Mango Street is not what she wants. More importantly through the process of finding herself she is able to formulate a meaning of what it is like to feel at home. Esperanza believes that to feel "at home" a person is comfortable, relaxed and at ease in their home. By the end of the book she does not find the home of her dreams in reality, but she is confident that she will find it eventually.

Esperanza expresses that in order to feel "at home" the person living in the home should be proud to show it off to other people. Esperanza shows how important the characteristic in order to feel "at home" is for her in the first vignette, The House on Mango Street. She says, ."..You live there"... I lived there. I nodded. I knew then I had to have a house. A real House..."(5). This shows that Esperanza really cared about the appearance of her house. She was not proud of her current residence and greatly desired a real home. Due to this incidence with one of the nuns Esperanza is very conscious about what people think of her, as well as her home. Esperanza shows her passion for wanting a real home when she says "I knew then I had to have a house. A real house." This quote indicates to us that she has not found a real home yet because she is still expressing her need for a real "home." Esperanza truly believes that in order to be "at home" one must be happy, comfortable and proud of it.

Esperanza aspires to have a real home, in her own unique way, which no one else knows about. She thinks about a perfect home in her mind, and imagines her life in the future. Esperanza expresses her thoughts in the following passage. "When you leave you must remember to come back...Then I didn't know what to say. It was as if she could read my mind, as if she knew what I wished for..."(105). In this passage one of the Three Sisters is giving Esperanza advice. Here Esperanza shows that she is planning to move away from Mango street in the future. She suggests this when she says "It was as is she could read my mind..." This shows that Esperanza foresees herself moving to a different home far away from Mango Street, however she has not yet found it. In essence Esperanza is an insightful thinker and is always pondering ways of how she can make her dreams come true.

Esperanza's view on a home gains greater depth when she visits Elenita the witch woman. The witch woman tells her "I see a home in the heart" (64) Esperanza acknowledges in her mind that a house is what she wants. She says "I want a house on the hill like the ones with the gardens where Papa works......Passing bums will ask can I come in? I will offer them the attic... I know how it is to be without a house" ( 86, 87) Her view on owning a home gains greater depth as she dreams of now sharing her home with others who are less fortunate. There is a change in her attitude as she looks at the home as not being just pretty and well kept but one which welcomes the poorer people with a warm heart.

Esperanza is not a person that keeps her ideas just to herself, she also tells other friends and family about her problems and desires. Esperanza shares her desire for wanting a new home with her friend Alicia. She exhibits her openness by saying, "You have a home, Alicia, and one day you'll go there, to a town you remember, but me I never had a house, not even a photograph ... only one I dream of"(106,107). This passage shows that Esperanza has always had a house that she dreams about, but in reality she has not found this home that she always wants. By talking to Alicia about a new home, Esperanza expresses to the reader how much she really wants a new home.

Esperanza's passion for a new home is so strong that she is constantly thinking what her dream home will look like. She says to her self " Not a flat, not an apartment.. a house all my own... with my porch... my pretty petunias...a house quiet as snow..." (108). Esperanza's thinking on a new home specifies to the reader that she has not found the perfect home yet. By the end of the book Esperanza comes to the conclusion of what she is going to do to find a new home. She indicates this to the reader when saying, " One day I will pack my bags of books and paper. One day I will say goodbye to Mango. I am too strong for her to keep me here forever. One day I will go away" (110). By Esperanza saying this, it shows that she is determined to get out of Mango Street. When she specifically says "One day ..." that illustrates that she is still undecided about what her future holds for her. Even though she explains about leaving in such detail, she also eludes upon how she will come back for the other people on Mango Street. This is known when she says, " They will not know I have gone away to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out." (110) This demonstrates to the reader that Esperanza's personality has changed through the course of the book and she is no longer selfish. Yes she has a strong desire to have her own home, but now she thinks of sharing her fortunes with others on Mango Street by coming back to get them. Instead of being ashamed of her past and the house on Mango Street, she expresses her desire to write and tell stories about her past and how she was able to free her self from the Mango Street. In a way she comes to terms with her feelings about her house on Mango Street. At one time she was embarrassed to tell any one that she lived on Mango Street, by the end of the book she talks about telling stories of her humble and poor beginnings to her ultimate fulfillment of her dream.

Initially Esperanza is almost ashamed of her current home and would rather not let any one know where she lives. Her dream house can never be on Mango Street which is surrounded by neighbors who are poor, desperate, trapped and victims of their own unfortunate circumstances. By the end of the book Esperanza proves to us that she is definitely going to move away from Mango Street some day and come back for the trapped victims that used to live around her. She has a vision of how she will fulfill her dream. Her strong personality along with staunch determination and desire for a perfect home make it seem that these traits will help pave the path for fulfilling Esperanza's dream. Throughout the book Esperanza expresses her desire for a perfect home, she certainly finds one in her dreams but the reader can tell she has still not found one in reality.

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