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The House on Mango Street

by Sandra Cisneros

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In The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, what binds the family together? 

In The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, the family is bound by their hopes and dreams. Esperanza's family hopes to own a nice house one day. The father takes them on Sunday drives to look at houses so they can keep working towards that goal. Esperanza finds herself becoming ashamed of her family because they are always looking out the windows at a life they will never have in the "small and red" house on Mango Street.

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In The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros, Esperanza's family is not only bound by blood; it is bound by hopes and dreams. The family hopes to own a nice house one day, not one that is "small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you'd think they were holding their breath" (4). No, Esperanza's family dreams of having a beautiful house one day. In fact, the hopes and dreams surrounding the house that Esperanza's family wants are as follows:

". . . a real house that would be ours for always so we wouldn't have to move each year. And our house would have running water and pipes that worked. And inside it would have real stairs, not hallway stairs, but stairs inside like the houses on T.V." (4).

But when Esperanza's family moves into the house on Mango Street, she isn't satisfied. Her parents promise that living in the house where the "bricks are crumbling" will only be temporary. In an effort to keep their family's hopes alive, the father takes them around on Sundays to the houses where he works as a gardener or landscaper. Esperanza plays along to keep her parents' spirits up about their situation in life, but her real feelings are as follows:

"I don't tell them I am ashamed--all of us staring out the window like the hungry. I am tired of looking at what we can't have. When we win the lottery . . . Mama begins, and then I stop listening" (86).

Even though Esperanza doesn't believe that she and her family will ever buy a house like the ones she sees on T.V., she sets her sights on her own hopes and dreams of buying herself a house one day. Either way, dreaming of owning a nice house seems to bind the family together. It helps them to keep working towards a brighter future. It also gives them something to do on Sundays as a family.

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