What is the role of domestic space and ritual in "The House on Mango Street"In what ways does the author define gender roles in Latino culture?  In what ways does this make a defined space?

mspawn311 | Student

@ epollock

You really didn't answer the question in the form in which I asked.  I asked specific about domestic space and gender roles and you spoke about fulfilment of the American Dream.  Please if you can further analyze the question and give me a more detailed answer if you are able too.

epollock | Student

The young speaker in“The House on Mango Street” is for the most part acutely aware of her situation and its larger implications. She knows that the new house represents both a pause from, though not necessarily an end of, the rootlessness (and its consequent insecurity) that she and her family have previously experienced; it also represents freedom from the restrictions that she and her family have previously had to endure, restrictions that are focused in large part on the lack of privacy—having to be careful not to make too much noise, having to hear about it when too much noise is made, being unable to keep one’s private business to oneself, even somethingso private as taking a bath. And even worse is the sense of what such a lifestyle means in the eyes of others, as is vividly portrayed in paragraphs 6through 10: when the nun from the narrator’s school passes by the flat on Loomisand says “You live there?,” the narrator’s internal reaction is: “The way she said it made me feel like nothing.”

Yet, brief as “The House on Mango Street” is, it does much more in its eleven paragraphs than celebrate such things as striving, upward mobility, and the fulfillmentof the American dream. The dream that the narrator’s mother has spunand clung to is a dream of a very different house from the small, cramped one onMango Street, and so is the house that her father talked about whenever he bought a lottery ticket. Although they recognize that “the house on Mango Streetisn’t it,” both parents seem to see the house—whether truly so in their own mindsor simply in an attempt to keep their children’s hopes alive—as a way station in the fulfillment of their dreams, not as the end of the line, the outer limit of their real-life possibilities. But the narrator seems to have been around enough blocks—Loomis, Keeler, Paulina, and others that she can no longer remember—to have already grasped a sense of the limits of the American dream for Latinos,   people like her and her family, people who don’t win lotteries and whose dreams are destined to remain merely dreams: “I know how these things go.”

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The House on Mango Street

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