What is the theme of "Hairs" from The House on Mango Street, and what lines describe the vignette's tone?

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gmuss25 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The vignette entitled "Hairs" concerns the various types of hair each of Esperanza's family members has. Esperanza describes her hair as being "lazy," while her mother's hair is depicted as beautiful and comforting. Esperanza compares her mother's hair to little rosettes and says that it makes her feel warm and comfortable inside when she puts her head against her mother's hair. The theme of this short vignette concerns family and individuality. Esperanza elaborates on the different style of hair each family member has, which makes her siblings and parents unique. Esperanza's comments about how her mother's hair brings her comfort and security also correspond to the theme of family. The fact that Esperanza views her hair as "lazy" illustrates her low self-esteem and negative view of herself.

One line that depicts the peaceful, calming tone is located towards the end of the vignette and takes place when Esperanza is describing her mother's hair. Esperanza writes, "...sweet to put your nose into when she [mother] is holding you, holding you and you feel safe" (Cisneros, 6). Esperanza smoothly describes the serene feeling of putting her head against her mother's hair as she mentions that it provides her with a feeling of security and safety.

dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The theme of the vignette "Hairs" is family, the differences in each member of Esperanza's family as evidenced by their hair, and the special place her mother holds as the family's center. 

The narrator spends the first half of this short piece describing the hair of her father, herself, and her siblings, and through her descriptions, she gives each member a distinct individuality and conveys a sense of what each person is like.  Esperanza then goes on to describe her mother's hair, emphasizing the matriarch's importance to the family unit by devoting as much space to writing about her as she has to the rest of the family put together.  In talking about her mother's hair, Esperanza evokes a tone of peace and security and love.  She says,

"my mother's hair, my mother's hair...sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you, holding you and you feel safe, (it) is the warm smell of bread before you bake it...you sleep near her...Papa snoring...the rain, and Mama's hair that smells like bread" (Hairs).

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The House on Mango Street

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