Black, white, and orange illustration of Esperanza standing in front of a building or structure

The House on Mango Street

by Sandra Cisneros

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Does the house in "The House on Mango Street" symbolize something more? What is the narrator's outlook on life?

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In discussing the symbolism of the house in The House on Mango Street, it helps to consider what the idea of any house represents. In general, houses serve the purpose of both confinement and protection. They also project an image to the world, yet at the same time shield what’s truly inside. Esperanza is ashamed of her house, as she is of her life-to her, the house is representative of her life. It is a part of her and it helped to mold her, although the life she lives clashes with the dreams she holds dear. The house, to Esperanza, projects an image of her life for the world to see, and much to her embarrassment, it is an image of her family’s poverty. Esperanza feels confined by her poverty, and she longs for ways to escape her confinement. In the story, she dreams of living in big, beautiful house in a wealthy neighborhood, which to her, represents a life of happiness.

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