House on Mango Street

Representations of Identity on Mango Street

Cisnero's acclaimed work The House on Mango Street explores a variety of themes in her photographic stories which capture everything from the seemingly banal triumphs of a small child to the tragedies suffered at the hands of cultural and social prescripts and finally to the mature introspections of a confused but wildly talented young woman. The short novel is essentially a coming-of-age story, one that depicts landmark events of Esperanza's life in the heavily stylistic vignettes that form the novel all while retaining a regular chronology that divides her juvenile and mature life into sections.

The tale begins with a snapshot of Esperanza's home on Mango Street; the home which is viewed under the critical gaze of the perceptive child who struggles with the home as a representation of several failures. First is the failure of her parents to provide the idyllic future that they promised, the future that was to unfold in the white-picket-fence suburban dream-house they described as they moved from apartment to apartment.

However, the house is more frequently seen as symbolic of the potential failure of never escaping Mango Street and not being able to realize the dream through her own agency. If her parent's...

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