With regards to The House on Mango Street, what roles do neighborhood and community play in shaping who we become?
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From a different perspective, consider the role of the neighborhood in House on Mango Street not only as a small local region, but in terms of the Latino "barrio". It is a second home, and even though there is poverty, abuse and other issues to deal with in the neighborhood, there is also a sense of warmth and familiarity, of protection and friendship that we don't also find in traditional Euro-American neighborhoods.
So this shapes Esperanza a great deal. In "Hips" she is discovering her developing womanhood, amidst the conversations and activities with her friends, more than at home with a traditional family. This is just one example.
At the end of The House on Mango Street, Esperanza decides that she will leave her home community to go away and pursue her dreams. However, she also resolves to return to Mango Street to help others get out. Growing up, Esperanza has seen her fair share of trouble on Mango Street, including a couple negative experiences involving sexual abuse. She has also seen people commit suicide, and she has watched the dreams of others get swept away. The neighborhood and community on Mango Street have shaped Esperanza in a particular way, and rather than falling victim to the harsh realities of the community, Esperanza decides that she will fight back and make something better of her life. So although neighborhood and community play a role in shaping the characters, the same characters also have a role in how they allow their community to mold their personalities.
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