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Esperanza's Bildungsroman

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Derek Dang

on 24 October 2014

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Transcript of Esperanza's Bildungsroman

Self Definition and Identity
The House on Mango Street revolves around one girl and her struggle to fit the puzzle pieces of her identity into a coherent whole. Throughout the novel the reader is able to follow her growth towards maturity. From a girl who who has no sense of identity to a women with a clear sense of purpose.
Friendship, Home
Esperanza's major challenge in this novel is to overcome her feelings of isolation and experience a sense of belonging, especially when her family and friends are involved.

"If you give me five dollars I will be your friend forever. That's what the little one tells me." (14)

"Five dollars is cheap since I don't have any friends except Cathy who is only my friend till Tuesday" (14)


"She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on elbow...I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window." (10)
Freedom and Entrapment
Growth and Maturity, Sexuality
Esperanza and her friends are growing up physically, but also are growing up spiritually by doing adult things and caring how she looks. Exploring more of her sexuality and her affect on men.

"You girls too young to be wearing shoes like that. Take them shoes before I call the cops, but we just run." (41)

"Then Uncle Nacho is pulling and pulling my arm and it doesn't matter how new the dress Mama bought is because my feet are ugly until my uncle who is a liar says, you are the prettiest girl here, will you dance..." (47)

"You gotta be able to know what to do with hips when you get them, I say making it up as I go" (50)
Gender Roles and Expectations
All around her Esperanza sees strong, smart women who, by staying on Mango Street, are oppressed by the gender roles forced upon them by her patriarchal society.

"You must keep writing. It will keep you free..." (61)

"She was a horse woman too, born like me in the Chinese year of the horse - which is supposed to be bad luck if you're born female - but I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans, don't like their women strong." (10)

"They're good for holding a baby when you're cooking, Rachel says, turning the jump rope a little quicker. She has no imagination." (49)

"He thinks I'm going to run away like his sisters who made the family ashamed. Just because I'm a daughter, and then she doesn't say." (92)
Fitting In
Esperanza feels self conscience about her outer appearance. Her chronological growth is basically summarizing herself going through puberty.

"When I am too sad and too skinny to keep keeping, when I am a tiny thing against so many bricks, then it is I look at trees." (75)

"Since she is too beautiful to look at." (79)

"I am ashamed- all of us looking out the window like he hungry." (86)

"And nobody could make you sad and nobody would think you're strange" (83)
Future Opportunities
Esperanza and her mother discuss her future and also her mother says why she quit school spiritually. Also, she thinks about her future house and how she will live.

Chronological -> Spiritual

"You want to know why I quit school? Because I didn't have nice clothes." (91)

"Sally got married like we knew she would, young and not ready but married just the same." (101)

"Not a flat. Not an apartment in back. Not a man's house. Not a daddy's...Only house quiet as snow, a space for myself to go, clean as paper before the poem" (108)
Finding a Home
It is chronological and spiritual because she understands what the three sisters, and Alicia, are trying to say, when she is older.
Esperanza's Bildungsroman
"You will always be Mango Street. You can't forget who you are." (105)

"Like it or not you are mango street and one day you'll come back too." (107)

"A house all my own." (108)

"They will not know I have gone away to come back." (110)
By: Derek Duong, Anhayte Guajardo,
David Ieong, Laura G. Salazar,
Sylvia Winston, Patrick Zydziak

Finding a Home Cont.
"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." (3)

" The boys and girls live in separate worlds. The boys in their universe and we in ours." (8)

"In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means wait. A muddy color. It id the Mexico records my father plays Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing." (11)

In order to reach self-actualization, a person, with influence from external forces, must experience spiritual growth.
Esperanza wants so desperately to be free from the chains of Mango Street.

"Is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life." (27)

"They are without respect for all living things, including themselves." (29)

"Do you wish your feet would one day keep walking and take you far away from Mango Street, far away and maybe your feet would stop in front of a house, a nice one with flowers and big windows and steps for you to climb up two by two upstairs to where a room is waiting for you." (82-83)
In what ways is
The House on Mango Street
a bildungsroman?
Full transcript