The House on Mango Street - Characterization Essay

1412 Words Nov 20th, 2011 6 Pages
Esperanza: the Person Behind the Print In The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, a little girl from a Latino heritage is given birth to. Not literally, but in the sense of characterization. Esperanza is a fictional character made up by Cisneros to bring about sensitive, alert, and rich literature. She is the protagonist in the novel and is used to depict a female’s life growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Cisneros creates the illusion that Esperanza is a real human being to communicate the struggles of growing up as a Latina immigrant in a modern world, by giving her a name, elaborating her thoughts and feelings, and illustrating her growth as a person through major events. To give a character life they first have to …show more content…
It means sadness, it means waiting” (10). Not only is Esperanza’s name a way to trace her origin but it is also symbolic to the book as a whole. Her name illustrates how the Spanish inside her is sad and it is putting her in a position that is weighing her down and keeping her from becoming someone. The English counterpart is what is keeping her going and motivated to find a way to escape Mango Street and all it encompasses. Just like a genuine immigrants dream when they come to America, Esperanza’s name means “hope” and she uses this hope for a better life to “One day I will pack my bags of books and paper. One day I will say goodbye to Mango. I am too strong for her to keep me here forever. One day I will go away” (110). Cisneros uses the name of her character to give her a place in a Latino setting and start expounding on her thoughts and feelings that come with that life. Thoughts and feelings are human characteristics which distinct us from one another and cannot be duplicated or falsified. Cisneros bestows the feature of an internal view on Esperanza by having her speak of her thoughts and feelings in first person narrative throughout the novel. Cisneros starts acquainting this feature early in the story for such topics as laughter: “Nenny and I don’t look like sisters…not right away. Not the way you can tell with Rachel and Lucy who have the same fat popsicle lips like everybody else in their family. But me and Nenny, we are more alike than you would

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