The House on Mango Street wrote by Sandra Cisneros, that is part of a minority group (Chicana ).This is a book made by many vignettes and through the character of Esperanza, Cisneros expresses her feelings and thoughts. There are many important topics and themes discussed by Cisneros. For example Belonging vs. Displacement, the cycle of racism, sexual objectification of women, female sexuality as power, the restriction and subversion of traditional values.
Probably the most important theme is belonging vs. displacement that is a major topic in the book.
We see it throughout the whole book and makes us understand many things. Mainly the sense of lost identity is shown. Cisneros expresses her message very clearly in particular in four vignettes. The first vignette we see is “ No Speak English “ where we see mamacita very nostalgic of her home country. She is scared of English and will never go down the stairs. We understand her feeling in this passage:
“Whatever reason whether she is fat or can’t climb the stairs or is afraid of English ,she won’t come down.
she sits all day by the window and plays the Spanish radio show and sings all the homesick songs about her country in a voice that sounds like a seagull.
Home. Home. Home is a house in a photograph, pink house, pink as hollyhocks with lots of startled light. The man paints the wall of the apartment pink, but it’s not the same, you know. She still sighs for her pink house, and then I think she cries.
Another vignette that expresses the desire for another house and the feeling of not belonging there is seen in Bums in the Attic where we see Esperanza describing an idle house where she would like to go. Also in Alicia ; I Talking on Edna’s Steps shows the same feeling and desire. Esperanza doesn’t feel the house on mango street as her home, she is ashamed of it and doesn’t have a real house. She says it’s not her house.
In the last vignette Cisneros reiterates on the fact that mango street is not Esperanza’s house, probably expressing what she in first person felt. We see this clearly in the passage : “But what I remember most is mango street , sad red house , the house I belong but do not belong to.” . Here she says that she is from mango street, because she lived there but she doesn’t feel it hers. She has a sense of displacement.
I always knew that many immigrants or people that don’t live in their home country don’t feel as they are home, but through this book we can understand clearly what is their feelings and I was quite touched by this and made my view for some people to change. Unfortunately I had some type of prejudice for some people of different ethnic groups because I had in my head a stereotype of a type of people, but this book helped me overcome these prejudices and change idea. I now have great empathy for minority groups. I need to help them since I’m part of the majority.