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The Symbolism Of The House On Mango Street

634 words - 3 pages

The Symbolism of The House on Mango StreetIn The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros addresses and develops thethemes of assimilation of the Chicano into American society, stereotypes, and thetreatment of the Chicana within her culture. These themes are brought out through theexperiences of Esperanza, a young Chicana character. The American society has tried tomake the Chicano fir into its culture and make him follow its way of doing things. TheChicano has also 'voluntarily' tried to assimilate because of the negative attitudes towardshim and his culture. There are several problems with assimilation for the Chicano basedon cultural differences. The main difference is that Latin ...view middle of the document...

The old traditionalrole in Mexican culture has also served to oppress these women. These themes areintertwined throughout Cisnero's novel.One was Cisneros brings out the theme of assimilation in The House on MangoStreet is through the concept of the 'American Dream.' The dream is to own a home. Itis a symbol of success in a materialistic world. Esperanza, the main character, expressesthis desire in 'A House of My Own.' (pg. 108)Esperanza and her family, like a large portion of the Chicano minority, live in abarrio. Her family had lived in several other places and had felt the pain of poverty. 'Wehad to leave the flat on Loomis quick. The water pipes broke and the landlord wouldn'tfix them because the house was too old.' Experiences such as this fueled her own'American Dream.'Esperanza's personal identity was tied to the physical dwellings in which she lived.The run down conditions of the buildings were signs of the poverty that entrenched herfamily. She felt a sense of shame by being identified with her home. In the episode of 'ARice Sandwich,' she shows this shame and embarrassment when the Nun points outEsperanza's home saying, 'That One? she said, pointing to a row of ugly three flats, theones even the raggedy men are ashamed to go into. Yes I nodded...(pg. 45). The wish fora nice home is in a way a desire for a better self image.The House on Mango Street also reflect the treatment of Chicanas within theirculture. This theme has been dealt with in many other Chicano works. It is more than justa collection of barrio stories told by a young girl, it is an awakening to the conditions ofthe Chicano and the Chicana in our society.

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