House on Mango Street

What can we infer about Earl from Esperanza's description?

Earl of Tennessee 

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This chapter explores themes we have seen in other vignettes- the stigma of a broken marriage and the way the community functions as a family, as evidenced by gossip, bickering, and sharing among neighbors.

This chapter is also interesting because of Cisneros' subtle wielding of language and imagery likening Earl to the cockroaches that live in his home. Earl lives in "mold and dampness" and he only emerges at night. So too, Earl is a solitary, thick-skinned man. Thus, we see the important role that setting plays in this novel; moreover, one's choice of space (such as Esperanza's dream house) reveals much more than simple explanations about the complexities and eccentricities of a character.