Why is the house on Mango Street not their dream home in Cisneros The House on Mango Street?

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lsumner eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The house on Mango Street is not Esperanza's dream home. She is not happy with her surroundings. She expresses her dissatisfaction with the small, cramped house:

Esperanza is dissatisfied with the house, which is small and cramped, and doesn't want to stay there. But Mango Street is her home now, and she sets out to try to understand it.

The house is located in the ghetto. It is not an ideal location. Esperanza is dissatisfied. She is constantly talking of leaving. She dreams for a nice, large house in a better neighborhood. She complains about the crowded neighborhood:

Esperanza gives the impression of a crowded neighborhood where people live in close quarters and lean out of windows, and where one can hear fighting, talking, and music coming from other houses on the street.

At the present, the house on Mango Street is surrounded by bums, drug dealers, and homeless drunkards. The atmosphere is negative. The house on Mango Street is where the children encounter various situations; some are even dangerous. Esperanza and her friends get in trouble while walking around the street in high-heel shoes that were hand-me-down high heels:

They strut around the neighborhood acting like the older girls until a homeless man accosts them. After fleeing, the girls quickly take off the shoes with the intention of never wearing them again.

The neighborhood is less than safe in that some girls get abused on Mango Street. It is not a safe neighborhood. Esperanza will leave one day as she promises continuously throughout the pages, but she will return to save the ones who cannot get out. Three sisters read her palm and share that Esperanza will leave Mango street one day. They remind her to come back to save the others who cannot get out by themselves:

When you leave you must remember to come back for the others. A circle, understand? You will always be Esperanza. You will always be Mango Street. You can't erase what you know. You can't forget who you are.

Even though Esperanza will always be a part of Mango Street, and she will leave one day but never forget Mango Street and the people who there, this is why it's not her dream home.

Read the study guide:
The House on Mango Street

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