In The House on Mango Street, why does Geraldo have a full vignette dedicated to him?
At first glance, the fact that Cisneros devotes an entire vignette to a character who is an unknown and does not appear anywhere else in this book is a rather strange one, I agree. However, we need to remember the purpose of this slim volume of various vignettes. Cisneros is seeking to communicate and write about the full experience of Latino immigrants in the United States, and focusing on the character of Geraldo allows her to comment upon the flow of illegal immigrants that have to live such desperate lives to earn money so they can support their families back in Mexico and other countries. Note how Cisneros alludes to these issues in the vignette:
Just another brazer who didn't speak English. Just another wetback. You know the kind. The ones who always look ashamed... They never saw the kitchenettes. They never knew about the two-room flats and sleeping rooms he rented, the weekly money orders sent home, the currency exchange. How could they?
Cisneros thus exposes her audience to the harsh reality of so many illegal immigrants who have to live a shadowy existence and are not able to give out personal details about themselves, are not able to form relationships and not able to love and have a home. The reference to the grief and the uncertainty of Geraldo's family back in his home about Geraldo's fate highlights the tragedy of illegal immigration and the way that it impacts so many lives. This vignette is therefore very important because of the way that it provides another aspect of life for Latino immigrants.