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Essay Samples > Book Review > The House on Mango Street
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The House on Mango Street

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The House on Mango Street is definitely a big read for me as no other literary work can emphasize more the essence of child development. The story is very touching and exciting at the same time. There is an exponential growth of Esperanza that builds up to the fact that she has indeed matured. As the novel begins, she is in oblivion about the fact that she ought to grow into a woman. She strongly believes that men and women are totally different creatures who live in the same world. Esperanza is also ashamed of the fact that they live in a dilapidated house, she is not proud of showing people where she lives. For instance when the nun asks her where she stays, she points at their house with crippled confidence. When Sister Superior points at a ragged apartment during the rice sandwich incident, Esperanza breaks into tears feeling that she has been insulted. This points out her emotional infancy and denial of her status; she feels that she deserves to live in a better place. She doubts her parents when they say that they are living there temporarily.

Esperanza grows sexually. Initially, she always felt ashamed talking to boys to an extent that she could not ever talk to her brothers outside their house. When she meets Sally and Alicia, albeit with resistance, she starts to appreciate her beauty, she puts on high heels and admires her long legs much to her chagrin. After she has discovers the power of the heels, she uses it as a means to escape her problems (17, 8).  

Towards the end of the story, however, we notice how her dream of moving out changes when she decides that she is going to take up responsibility and help women in her neighborhood. Despite the fact that she was abused sexually, she gathers enough courage to fight her fears and engages in a long-term project to help her neighbors.

We further see how Esperanza utilizes her time, writing the note that contrasted with her constant complaints about her situation. The fact that Esperanza artistically grows towards the end of the novel is a clear indication that this book is indeed a bildungsroman. She improves her writing ability to an extent that she no longer sees herself in her stories. She is always painting a pictures of the places she visits, the situations she observes and this gives her freedom from herself.

Esperanza further realizes the essence of engaging herself in creative activity. She considers it to be of the utmost importance if she is to live a happy life. She remembers her grandmother, who like many other women on Mango Street, was used to the boredom of being confined to their kind of life. When Esperanza, for instance meets Mamacita, Rafaela and Minerva, she gets to understand why she has to make her life different. These three women painted her a vivid picture of what it means to be trapped in the miasma of poverty and boredom. It is in this regard that even after she has become successful, Esperanza gets convicted not to forsake her home. She returns to help the other women deal with their difficult situations. This is a major sign of growth for Esperanza.

Growing up, Esperanza was too critical of her parents’ failure to provide a decent living; they had no home to call their own. She thought that they were living in the worst conditions until they moved to Mango Street. Through interacting with her newly found friends, especially Rafaela, Mamacita, Minerva and Sally, she comes to understand that her sexuality as a woman has everything to do with their social status.  Esperanza gets a deeper understanding as to why they live in poverty. According to her, most women in Mango Street are victims of their husband’s brutality; many of them peep through their window as if they were cells simply because their husbands do not give them freedom to work. This changes her attitude towards the failure, thereby giving her a stronger motivation to work hard and change instead of running away from her problems.

In conclusion, there is a clear development in the collections in this novel. Not only do the women in question face major challenges while growing up, but they are also able to overcome their challenges. The central theme of women liberation and their struggle to bring change in their lives cannot be further highlighted. It is apparent that in this setting, there is need for the author to overcome her fears as she grows to face the reality in her life. The House on Mango Tree is a great literary piece, the concept of which is realistic to the extent that many of us, readers, relate to the tribulations Esperanza is facing. It is a great novel about the stages of development that young people undergo on their verge to realizing their full potential. It makes a lot of sense, concerning the growth of young immigrant.

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