House on Mango Street

What does "a home in the heart" mean ?

Elenita, Cards, Palm Water 

Asked by
Last updated by Aslan
Answers 1
Add Yours

Esperanza visits the "witch lady," a mother who works from her kitchen lit by candles, a plaster saint, voodoo charms and a cross. Esperanza comes with her most important question- if she will ever have a house of her own. The reading is interrupted by the rowdy children and by Esperanza's pondering of how much Elenita knows how to cure, from headaches to broken hearts. When her reading finishes, Esperanza is disappointed with her answer, that she will have a home in the heart. The theme of home is complemented by the setting; in Elenita's home, domestic life and mysticism share a common space. While scolding her children and minding her traditional duties, Elenita conjures "los espiritus," prescribes folk remedies, reads tarot cards and searches for visions in beer glasses of water. This anecdote does not only serve as humor, or as an ironic commentary on how people will play on the credulity of others to make money, but also Elenita's home serves as a contrast to Esperanza's dream. Elenita's home is, in its own way, a "house made of heart" because Elenita uses it as a place of independent expression and self-sufficiency.