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Copy of The House on Mango Street

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Stefan Becker

on 2 May 2013

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Transcript of Copy of The House on Mango Street

Mexicans in the US today - Segregation, not-belonging & the wish of feeling at home Sandra Cisneros “…it is the story of a young Latino girl growing up in Chicago inventing for herself who and what she will become.” Esperanza Esperanza & Women "I am an ugly daughter. I am the one nobody comes for.
I have begun my own quiet war. Simple. Sure. I am one who leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate."
(Beautiful & Cruel) "... because I like Marin. She is older and knows lots of things [...]. What matters, Marin says, is for the boys to see us and for us to see them."
(Marin) "Hurray! Today we are Cinderella because our feet fit exactly, and we laugh at Rachel's one foot with a girl's grey sock and a lady's high heel."
(The Family of Little Feet) "But most important, hips are scientific, I say repeating what Alicia already told me."
(Hips) Esperanza & Family "But me and Nenny we are more alike than you would know.
Look at that house, I said, it looks like Mexico.
Rachel and Lucy look at me like I'm crazy, but before they can let out a laugh, Nenny says: Yes that's Mexico all right."
(Laughter) "But she doesn't know which subway train to take to get downtown. I hold her hand very tight while we wait for the right train to arrive.
You want to know why I quit school? Because I didn't have nice clothes. No clothes, but I had brains."
(A Smart Cookie) "My mother says I was born on an evil day and prays for me."
(Born Bad)
"My mother says when I get older my dusty hair will settle and my blouse will learn to stay clean, but I have decided not to grow up tame like the others [...]."
(Beautiful & Cruel) Esperanza, the 'Spanish Girl' "The one who grabbed me by the arm he wouldn't let me go. He said I love you, Spanish girl, I love you, and pressed his sour mouth to mine.
You're a liar. They all lied. All the books and magazines, everything that told it wrong."
(Red Clowns) Esperanza & Community "I couldn't do anything but cry. I don't remember. It was dark. I don't remember. I don't remember. Please don't make me tell it all."
(Red Clowns) " And since she comes right after me, she is my responsibility."
(Boys & Girls) "Because I am the oldest, my father has told me first and now it is my turn to tell the others."
(Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark) Esperanza & Sexuality "Sally, you lied. It wasn't what you said at all. What he did. Where he touched me. I didn't want it, Sally.
Only his dirty fingernails against my skin, only his sour smell again. The moon that watched.
He wouldn't let me go."
(Red Clowns) Esperanza & Agency "Not a flat. Not an apartment in back. Not a man's house. Not a daddy's. A house all my own."
(A House of My Own) "All brown all around, we are safe. But watch us drive into a neighborhood of another color and our knees go shakity-shake and our car windows get rolled up tight and our eyes look straight."
(Those Who Don't) Esperanza & Culture "You live there? The way she said it made me feel like nothing. There. I lived there."
(The House on Mango Street) SOURCES the author *1954 in Chicago
- parents
- childhood: moving between Chicago and Mexico
- family

- young poet
- cultural differences (Where do I belong?)
- adopted own writing style (video) Portrait of the Artist as the Vergin of Guadalupe Culture and Catholic Church Abuse and Sexual Violence Alicia

"Close your eyes and they'll go away,
her father says, or You're just imagining."
"Is afraid of nothing except four-legged fur. And fathers."

(Alicia Who Sees Mice) Sally

"He never hits me hard. [...]
A girl that big, a girl who comes in with her pretty face all beaten and black can't be falling off the stairs. [...] he hit her with his hands just like a dog, she said, like if I was an animal."

(What Sally said)

"She is happy, except sometimes her husband gets angry [...], though most days he is okay. [...] She sits at home because she's afraid to go outside without his permission."
(Linoleum Roses) Esperanza

"[...] and he said we could be friends and next time to go in the lunchroom and sit with him, and I felt better. He had nice eyes and I didn't feel so nervous anymore. [...] he said it was his birthday and would I please give him a birthday kiss. I thought I would because he was so old and just as I was about to put my lips on his cheek, he grabs my face with both hands and kisses me hard on the mouth and doesn't let go."

(My First Job)

"Sally Sally a hundred times. Why didn't you hear me when I called? Why didn't you tell them to leave me alone? [...] Why did you leave me all alone? I waited my whole life. You're a liar. They all lied. All the books and magazines, everything that told it wrong. [...] Sally, you lied, you lied. He wouldn't let me go."

(Red Clowns) Male Dominance/Misogyny Alicia

"And anyway, a woman's place is sleeping so she can wake up early with the tortilla star, the one that appears early just in time to rise and catch the hind legs hide behind the sink, beneath the four-clawed tub, under the swollen floorboards nobody fixes, in the corner of your eyes."

(Alicia Who Sees Mice) Sally

"You could close your eyes and you wouldn't have to worry what people said [...]. And no one could yell at you if they saw you out in the dark leaning against a car, leaning against somebody without someone thinking your are bad [...].

"She met a marshmallow salesman at a school bazaar, and she married him in another state where it's legal to get married before eight grade. [...] She says she is in love, but I think she did it to escape. [...]"

(Linoleum Roses) "The boys and the girls live in separate worlds. The boys in their universe ans we in ours. My brothers [...] have plenty to say to me and Nenny inside the house. But outside they can't be seen talking to girls."
(Boys & Girls)

"The word is that Earl is married and has a wife somewhere. [...] Whenever she arrives, he holds her tight by the crook of the arm. They walk fast into the apartment, lock the door behind them and never stay long."
(The Earl of Tennessee) Yolanda Lopez’ photo montage that was exhibited as a poster at Self-Help Graphics shows an athletic woman fully in control of her environment, holding a serpent –a symbol of the Aztec goddess of fertility, Caotlalopeuh.
The piece was created in 1978, at the height of identity politics in the United States. Lopez says her intention was to portray a positive role model for working-class Chicanas and Latinas, like herself.
“The ideal was white, and I was not,” she explained in interview with Amalia Mesa-Bains. “I knew very well that I didn’t look like that. So I never considered myself pretty…I feel living, breathing women also deserve respect and love lavished on Guadalupe. I have chosen to transform the image. Taking symbols of her power and virtue I have transferred them to portraits of women I know…” Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe Sexuality Sally

"Sally is the girl with eyes like Egypt and nylons the color of smoke." [...]


"[...] but Sally had her own game. One of Tito's friends said you can't get the keys back unless you kiss us and Sally pretended to be mad at first but she said yes. It was that simple. [...] Something wanted to say no when I watched Sally going into the garden with Tito's buddies all grinning."

(The Monkey Garden) Rachel, Lucy & Esperanza

"We have legs. [...] all our own, good to look at, and long. [Rachel] teaches us to cross and uncross our legs, [...] and how to walk down to the corner so that the shoes talk back to you with every step. [...] Down the corner where the men can't take their eyes off us. We must be Christmas. [...] [Rachel] is young and dizzy to hear so many sweet things in one day, [...] But we don't like it. We got to go, Lucy says." [...] "We are tired of being beautiful."
(The Family of Little Feet) Marin

"And since Marin's skirts are shorter and since her eyes are pretty, and since Marin is already older than us in many ways, the boys who do pass by say stupid things like I am in love with those two green apples you call eyes, give them to me why don't you."

(Marin) Poverty “I write about my students because I don't know what else to do with their stories. Writing them down allows me to sleep.”

“Sometimes I write about people I remember, sometimes I write about people I've just met, often I mix the two together (...).”

“Emotions, though, can't be invented, can't be borrowed. All the emotions my characters feel, good or bad, are mine.” LIFE AND INSPIRATION - first female MX-Am. writer that had her work
published by a mainstream publisher
- “House on Mango Street” (1984) = first novel
- countless awards
- books translated into over a dozen languages

- various professional positions
- success opened the doors to US universities
- BUT: Esperanza should not forget her
working class roots ('The Three Sisters');
Cisneros: foundations and institutions Numbers & Figures - 34 million Mexicans in the US
- 65% of all Hispanics & Latinos in the US are Mexicans
- 22% of entire Mexican population lives in the US
- 7 millions undocumented Mexicans
- 60% residing in Texas and California
- 1/3 arrived in 2000 or later WRITING STYLE Segregation Issues Over nine million Mexican Americans can be considered highly socially segregated, not feeling homelike in the United States. The book is written out of the
perspective of a child.
What is so special about that? Segregated Neighborhoods Barrios Sanctuary for Spanish-speaking immigrants Signifies "district" or "quarter" offers lower education quality, provides poorer jobs & receives less government attention Segregated Schools Substandard quality
of education Holds Mexican Americans to the bottom of the social ladder Overcrowding - honest
- innocent POV
- no adult-like
- follow
- child's logic (“The monkey doesn't live there anymore.
The monkey moved – to Kentucky – and
took his people with him.” (p.94)) - New immigrants are likely to settle in areas where friends & family have settled
- Overcrowded conditions
- Hispanics: most discriminated-against in terms of housind
- 20% of Hispanic households house at least 5 people - daydreaming
- concerned about
things in direct
- children don't plan
ahead; often don't
see consequences Home Esperanza's challenge: overcome feelings of isolation & experience sense of belonging One central topic of the book: idea of home and houses Esperanza's needs: home that she can point to for explaining past & vision of home for the future SUCCESS Sandra Cisneros' - own experiences or stories she heard of
- names from telephone books
- ideas from dreams
- looking at the world from two angles (Am.+MX)
- bilingualism
- cultural influences
- realistic language to highly poetic language
- breaking with taboos

- refuge; to be herself
- be the child that would not be censored
- assimilation of fears and sad stories she
heard/experienced The wish for a home Quotes from the book Quote #1 "We didn't always live on Mango Street. Before that we lived on Loomis on the third floor, and before that we lived on Keeler. Before Keeler it was Paulina, and before that I can't remember. But what I remember most is moving a lot."
(The House on Mango Street) Quote #2 "The house on Mango Street is ours, and we don't have to pay rent to anybody, or share the yard with the people downstairs, or be careful not to make too much noise, and there isn't a landlord banging on the ceiling with a broom. But even so, it's not the house we'd thought we'd get."
(The House on Mango Street) Quote #3 "I knew then I had to have a house. A real house. One I could point to. But this isn't it. The house on Mango Street isn't it."
(The House on Mango Street) Quote #4 "Those who don't know any better come into our neighborhood scared [...] But we aren't afraid. We know the guy with the crooked eye is Davey the Baby's brother, and the tall one next to him in the straw brim, that's Rosa's Eddie V., and the big one that looks like a dumb grown man, he's Fat Boy, though he's not fat anymore nor a boy."
(Those Who Don't) Quote #5 "Home. Home. Home is a house in a photograph, a pink house, pink as hollyhocks with lots of startled light. The man paints the walls of the apartment pink, but it's not the same, you know. She still sighs for her pink house, and then I think she cries. I would."
(No Speak English) Quote #6 "¡Ay caray! We are home. This is home. Here I am and here I stay. Speak English. Speak English. Christ!"
(No Speak English) Quote #7 "No, this isn't my house I say and shake my head as if shaking could undo the year I've lived here. You have a home, Alicia, and one day you'll go there, to a town you remember, but me I never had a house, not even a photograph…only one I dream of."
(Alicia & I talking on Edna's Steps) Quote #8 "We didn't always live on Mango Street. Before that we lived on Loomis on the third floor, and before that we lived on Keeler. Before Keeler it was Paulina, but what I remember most is Mango Street, sad red house, the house I belong to but do not belong to."
(Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes) "I could have been somebody, you know? my mother says and sighs.[...] Someday she would like to go to the ballet. Someday she would like to see a play. She borrows opera records from the public library and sings with velvety lungs powerful as morning glories. [...] She stirs the oatmeal."
"Shame is a bad thing, you know. It keeps you down."

(A Smart Cookie) "You don't like to go out with us, Papa says. Getting old? Getting too stuck-up, says Nenny. I don't tell them I am ashamed - all of us staring out the window like the hungry. I am tired of looking at what we can't have. When we win the lottery... Mama begins, and then I stop listening."

"They have nothing to do with last week's garbage or fear of rats."

(Bums in the Attic) "The man saved his money to bring her here. He saved and saved because she was alone with the baby boy in that country. He worked two jobs. He came home late and he left early. Every day."
(No Speak English)

"There is a junk store. An old man owns it. [...] The store is small with just a dirty window for light. He doesn't turn the lights on unless you got money to buy things with, so in the dark we look and see all kind of things, me and Nenny."
(Gil's Furniture Bought & Sold) "[The house on Mango Street is] small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you'd think they were holding their breath. Bricks are crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in. There is no front yard, only four little elms the city planted by the curb.

(The House on Mango Street) "Most likely I will go to hell and most likely I deserve to be there. My mother says I was born on an evil day and prays for me. Lucy and Rachel pray too. For ourselves and for each other ... because of what we did to Aunt Lupe."

(Born Bad)

"Elenita, witch woman,[...] makes the sign of the cross over the water three times and then begins to cut the cards. [...] My whole life on that kitchen table: past, present, future. Then she takes my hand and looks into my palm."

"Thank you and goodbye and be careful of the evil eye. Come back again on Thursday when the stars are stronger. And may the Virgin bless you."

(Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water.) Minerva

"She is always sad like a house on fire - always something wrong. She has many troubles, but the big one is her husband who left and keeps leaving. One day she is through and lets him know enough is enough. [...] Then he is sorry and she opens the door again. [...] Next week she comes over black and blue and asks what can she do?"

(Minerva writes poems) Chicana Women

Chicanas constitute a community within a community as they ave to confront three kinds of discrimination: by race, by class and by gender
three categories of sexual experience define their lives: virgin, wife/mother or whore
are required to be subservient to men and renounce themselves in favour of men
are defined as good women when they show selflessness and humility, but are bad women when they express selfishness and value their own selves Marin

"She met him at a dance. [...] Marin, she goes to all those dances. Uptown. Logan. Embassy. Palmer. Aragon. Fontana. The Mannor. She likes to dance. [...]
And what was she doing out at three a.m. anyway? [...] How does she explain?"

(Geraldo No Last Name) 1. Olga: Chicana women
2. Matthias: American women
3. Stefan: Esperanza
3. Marie: Mexicans in the US today
5. Caro: Author/Writing style "She lives upstairs, over there, next door to Joe the baby-grabber. Keep away from him, she says. He is full of danger."

(Cathy Queen of Cats) Chicana women

grapple with the naming of their own identities
faced overt racist violence in the form of segregation and lynching in the past
while northern cities may not have had “White Only/Black Only” signs, many businesses had signs that read “No dogs or Mexicans"
have been robbed of their land, deprived of their language, and marginalized where they were once the majority
have and continue to struggle with sweatshop labor practices, racist attitudes and immigration laws
earn the lowest income out of any other group, and face ridiculous obstacles to legal immigration to America
are extremely racialized when they are (rarely) seen in the media and almost exclusively objectified as sex symbols
states like California have made bilingual education illegal, and Arizona is taking the lead on legalized racism
the Chican@ movement has been an important part of the fight for all people’s civil rights since the mid 20th century
have used many types of non-violent action to realize their goals, from marches, rallies, strikes, boycotts and walk-outs to the highly successful “Day Without a Mexican” campaign Szadziuk, Maria (1999). Culture as Transition: Becoming a Woman in Bi-ethnic Space. Mosaic, 32.3, 109-129. Print.

Field, Robin E. (2010). Revising Chicana Womanhood. Gender Violence in Sandra Cisnero's The House on Mango Street. In S. Gunne & Z.B. Thompson (Eds.), Feminism, Literature and Rape Narrative. Violence and Violation (pp. 54-67). New York: Routledge. Print.

McLeod, Audra (2002).SANDRA CISNEROS An Interdisciplinary Approach to The House On Mango Street. Web.

Cisneros, Sandra (1991). The House On Mango Street. New York: Vintage Books. Print.

Antoszek, Ewa (2013). Being a Chicana - Moving Forward While Looking Back. Web. 31.04.2013.
http://www.academia.edu/767219/Being_a_Chicana_-_Moving_Forward_Wille_Looking_Back Cisneros, Sandra. Brief biography. Website: http://www.sandracisneros.com/bio.php. (28.04.2013)

Sandra Cisneros: 2012 National Book Festival. Library of Congress, Washington D.C., 22.09.2012. Video, YouTube. (28.04.2013)
transcript: http://www.loc.gov/today/cyberlc/feature_wdesc.php?rec=5637. (28.04.2013)

Sandra Cisneros: Early Life. Interview. Video, YouTube. (28.04.2013)

Sandra Cisneros: Inspiration. Interview. Video, YouTube (28.04.2013) Wikipedia. Sandra Cisneros.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sandra_Cisneros. (28.04.2013)

Zakaria, Fareed (2012). Are Mexicans giving up on U.S?. CNN. NewYork. (27.04.2012)

Migration Information Source
http://www.migrationinformation.org/usfocus/display.cfm?ID=767 (February 2010)


Pew Research Hispanic Center. 2008. Mexican Immigrants in the United States. Washington D.C., 15.04.2009
http://www.pewhispanic.org/2009/04/15/mexican-immigrants-in-the-united-states-2008/ Blair, Sheryl (2009). A Site for Teachers and Students of Language Arts and ESOL. Web. 31.04.2013.

Portrait of the Artist as the Virgin of Guadalupe. Web. 30.04.13. Yolanda Lopez. 1978 http://quartierlibre.wordpress.com/2010/01/06/1675/

Feminist Activistm. Web. 01.05.2013. http://feministactivism.com/2011/03/04/day-4-latinachicana-womens-activism-in-the-us/ Thank you for your attention
and participation!! American Dream Dream to have a life (symbolized by the house) that is good and stable, to have a job that guarantees some comfort and a good life.
This dream is dreamed by Esperanza's parents and given to their children as well. A lot of people in Mango street try to make their dreams come true. First Job finding a job to pay for needs
getting money for a better way of life
parents push her to find a job, because they want her to fullfil herself but mostly to earn money Geraldo No Last Name came to the US to have a better life
died in an accident (shattered dream)
wanted to get his family into the US
nobody really knew him Sally / The Monkey Garden Sally does not bother about tradition and religion
meets lots of boys to be free and to have fun
has a dream of running away (own house)
abandoned house and garden are the shattered dream of another person, but they are a refuge for other ones, still dreaming A House Of My Own dreams of her own life
a lot of people can't fulfill their dreams But first... Get into 5 groups and read one of the following chapters under the guiding question '"How is 'Chicana Womanhood' portrayed?'"

1) Elenita, Cards, Palm, and Water
2) There was an Old Woman She Had So Many Children She Didn't Know What to Do
3) No Speak English
4) Marin
5) My Name Lois

"Sire lets Lois ride his bike around the block, or they take walks together. [...] She holds his hand, and he stops sometimes to tie her shoes. But Mama says those kinds of girls, those girls are the ones that go into alleys."

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