House on Mango Street

Esperanza's Identity

Throughout the book, how does Esperanza express who she is or who she wants to become? Please use specific quotes.

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Esperanza does not want to belong to her impoverished neighborhood and dreams of one day owning a home of her own, different from her families ramshackle dwelling on Mango Street. Throughout the course of the novel, Esperanza invents the person she will become: she aspires to be a writer and to overcome the limitations gender, race and class has placed upon her. Esperanza's identity crisis is multi-faceted, making it even more difficult for her to settle both her internal and external conflicts. One of the many faces of the crisis is her confusion surrounding her cultural role as a female. She paints the picture of the stereotypical Mexican woman as physically submissive yet psychic powerhouses of patience and more importantly, resilience. For example, she recounts the story of her grandparent's union in which her grandmother was literally dragged off into marriage and punished her husband by never conforming to be happy in a matrimony that was never based on egalitarian standards or even a reciprocated affection. Esperanza learns of the subtlety of a woman's strength and resolves not to repeat her grandmother's mistakes.