What a Home Really is in The House on Mango Street

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What a Home Really is in The House on Mango Street “Home is where the heart is.” In The House on Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros develops this famous statement to depict what a “home” really represents. What is a home? Is it a house with four walls and a roof, the neighborhood of kids while growing up, or a unique Cleaver household where everything is perfect and no problems arise? According to Cisneros, we all have our own home with which we identify; however, we cannot always go back to the environment we once considered our dwelling place. The home, which is characterized by who we are, and determined by how we view ourselves, is what makes every individual unique. A home is a personality, a depiction of who we are inside and how we grow through our life experiences. In her personal, Cisneros depicts Esperanza Cordero’s coming-of-age through a series of vignettes about her family, neighborhood, and personalized dreams. Although the novel does not follow a traditional chronological pattern, a story emerges, nevertheless, of Esperanza’s search to discover the meaning of her life and her personal identity. The novel begins when the Cordero family moves into a new house, the first they have ever owned, on Mango Street in the Latino section of Chicago. Esperanza is disappointed by the “small and red” house “with tight steps in front and bricks crumbling in places” (5). It is not at all the dream-house her parents had always talked about, nor is it the house on a hill that Esperanza vows to one day own for herself. Despite its location in a rough neighborhood and difficult lifestyle, Mango Street is the place with which she identifies at this time in her life. While growing up on Mango Street, Esperanza is not on... ... middle of paper ... ..., “Mango says goodbye sometimes. She does not hold me with both arms. She sets me free” (134). Although Esperanza is constantly reaffirming that she wants to move away from Mango Street, we know by the end novel that she will one day return to help those who will not have the opportunities Esperanza has had in her life. Indeed, in the closing pages Esperanza admits that she cannot escape Mango Street. She can never again call it home, but it has influenced her dreams, formed her personality, and she has learned valuable life lessons from its inhabitants. That is why, explains Esperanza, she tells stories about the house on Mango Street, revealing the beauty amidst dirty streets and unveiling her true inner self, the peace of knowing that her “home is where her heart is.” WORKS CITED Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. New York: Vintage, 1989.

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