Sandra Cisneros’ story The House on Mango Street is a classic example of a family living in poverty with the aspirations of living a more lucrative lifestyle. The parents have discussed their desires to their children to become successful and live in what is considered by them to be their “perfect home.” The story is told through the narration of a little girl that is one of four children living in the home with her parents. In analyzing this story I will describe the piece in detail as well as investigate the author’s thought and meaning.
The story starts out with the little girl discussing how the family had not always lived in the house they now lived in on Mango Street. She talks of other streets they had lived on before and says, “But what I remember most is moving a lot.” It seems as though the tone of the girl is somewhat disappointed in the living situation. While disappointment shines through as the underlying meaning, the very first line, “We haven’t always lived on Mango Street,” makes the girl seem as though she feels the house they live in now is much better than any previous home. This leads the reader to believe the girl is somewhat unhappy as well as content at the same time.
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This part of the story allows the first section to make more sense to us, in that we understand the reasoning behind why the family seems to be content to have a shelter in the house on Mango Street, although have much greater expectations in a permanent home. The denouement of the story involves the girl telling us about how the house on Mango Street was not the house she could point to without embarrassment. The little girl now describes all of the flaws in the house on Mango Street, comparing them to the perfect house her parents have told her stories about. It is mentioned how they no longer have to deal with such nuisances of living in a crummy neighborhood or paying rent, due to the fact that they own the house. It was at this point that the little girl realized she was unhappy with where she lived, and knew that someday she had to have a house in which she could point to without embarrassment in order to feel satisfied with herself and her home. She and her family are disappointed in the home, and she discusses her disappointment in every aspect. If the girl knows of no better and is not criticized for what she has, she might not necessarily desire what other people consider a better lifestyle. Does the nun still have room to chastise the girl I would think not. It seems to me that the girl was perfectly happy with her family and life, until other people made her feel differently. As the story carries on, the girl mentions some of the problems the family had to put up with when living in their house just before the one on Mango Street. The tone of the story is very negative as the family explains the problems with their previous home. This incident seemed to be the final push to cause them to move as far away as they could from the poor neighborhood they had dwelled in for some time. She mentions her parents telling her that the house is only temporary, although she has large doubts of this due to their past. At one point in the story she mentions, "There are stairs in our house, but they"tmre ordinary hallway stairs, and the house has only one washroom, very small. Many countries around the world have differing qualities of life and values.