Story: The House on Mango Street
What does the house on Mango Street symbolizes for the young narrator? Use evidence from the story to support your answer.
The story, The House on Mango Street published in the book, Literature, An introduction to reading and writing by Roberts & Jacobs (2001) is a fascinating account of the narrators relocating to different houses during her childhood. For this essay I would like to respond to the 4th option that is related to the narrator like as a character. This topic intrigues me because I think that I can relate this to my own self. The story is not only related to what the narrator expected from her own life but also can be generalized to each one of us as all of us have unfulfilled desires. The narrator was very sensitive as a child and longed for a house that she never had an opportunity to live in which in general life is portrayed in many of our wishes not being fulfilled irrespective of how much we desire.
How does the dialogue between the nun and the young narrator lead to the narrator’s awareness of what makes for a “real house?” Use evidence from the story to support your answer.
The narrator is a sensitive character. She has been very sensitive about her living conditions during her childhood. As was seen in the case of the nun when she asked her where she lived and she pointed out to her flat on the third floor. The nun simply asked “there”. But this had a great psychological impact on her. “I knew then I had to have a house”, is what her response to it was. She had many things going on in her mind in my opinion as she might have also been suffering from an inferiority complex as the say of others had a great impact on the way she perceived the life and what she wanted to do with her life.
What is the narrator like as a character? How much do you learn about her? How much do you learn about life in general? Use evidence from the story to support your answer.
As a person the story tells a lot about the narrator. She lived as a part of a big family with her mother and father and 3 siblings. The family seems to be on limited resources where the parents keep telling their kids stories about a better life. The narrator says in the story that “they always told us that one day we would move into a house, a real house that would be ours for always”. Further on she describes the house as a big house with three washrooms and a big yard and green trees surrounding it. I think that these stories have become a part of her personality and she thinks that she deserves better that what she had. This could be one of the factor that might have shaper her perception of the reality.
The struggle for self-definition is a common theme in coming-of-age stories. Discuss how the young narrator in Sandra Cisneros’s short story “The house on Mango Street” describes her situation and how she comes to terms with it. Use evidence from the story to support your answer.
Speaking about life in general, I think that the story is short but has a lot to offer to learn about life. I think that parents should be able to tell their kids the reality and not make them live in fairy tales. As humans, we should be able to adopt to the circumstance that we are in unless we have real life opportunities that could change the circumstances for the best. The narrators is quoted as saying “but the house on Mango Street is not the way they told it at all.” This reflects how much important is for us what others say and how much it impacts the way our personality can be shaped.
Roberts, E. & Jacobs, H. (2001). Literature (1st ed.). Upper Saddle River, N.J.: Prentice Hall.