Throughout The House on Mango Street, Cisneros's narrator describes herself from two points of view: as she sees herself and as she believes others see her. We can find an example of this in "My Name": "At school they say my name funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth". Where else in the book does Cisneros convey this dual consciousness? How does Esperanza see herself? How does she think other people perceive her?
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Esperanza does not express shock at Rachel's rude treatment of adults; on the contrary, her lighthearted tone celebrates Rachel's "very sassy" remarks. Another important theme is the dual beauty and harshness of the Mango Street neighborhood. On their ride, the girls navigate "the avenue which is dangerous" and the mundane landmarks- laundromat, drugstore, and cars- of the typical depressed community. The place which Esperanza views most critically is her own house, poignantly personified as "sad and red and crumbly in places." So too, however, the girls encounter friendly faces as "people on the bus wave" and Rachel exchanges banter with the "fat lady crossing the street": "You sure got quite a load there. Rachel shouts, You got quite a load there too." The duality of the love-hate relationship between Esperanza and her neighborhood is evident. Its appearances and places might be ugly, but the young girl detects the beauty and power of life in its inhabitants will to be happy.