What role does death play in The House on Mango Street?

Asked on by shalannaw

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teachertaylor | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Senior Educator

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In The House on Mango Street, death serves as a consequence of a disadvantaged life, as a symbol for freedom, and as a catalyst for hope.  Geraldo No Last Name dies one night in a car accident, and no one really knows Geraldo's background so his family cannot be notified.  The incident reveals the reality of Geraldo's life--he is a recent immigrant who is working to send money back to his family.  He lives in small accommodations and works several jobs to get by.  His death signifies the reality of having a disadvantaged life. 

Next, when Angel Vargas jumps out the window and dies, no one in the neighborhood really cares because Rosa Vargas is known for not being able to take care of her children.  Angel's suicide may be read symbolically as a release from the ill living conditions in the Vargas home.

Finally, Esperanza sees all the deaths around her as a sign of the depressed nature of Mango Street.  Death serves as a catalyst for her to struggle against the barriers of Mango Street to attain a better life.

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