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Copy of Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark

Explication of the vignette from The House on Mango Street

Erin Barth

on 25 August 2013

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Transcript of Copy of Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark

Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark
The House on Mango Street
By: Sandra Cisneros
In the vignette, Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark, Sandra Cisneros explores the theme of growing up.
"Your abuelito is dead... and then as if he had just heard the news himself, crumples like a coat and cries, my brave Papa cries." (p.56)
"Because I am the oldest, my father has told me first, and now it is my turn to tell the others." (p.56)
"I will have to explain why we can't play. I will have to tell them to be quiet today." (p.56-57)
"My Papa, with his thick hands and thick shoes, who wakes up tired in the dark... today is sitting on my bed." (p.57)
"And I think if my own Papa died what would I do. I hold my Papa in my arms. I hold and hold and hold him." (p.57)
Esperanza is probably seeing her father weak and vulnerable for the first time. In her eyes, he is completely torn apart. You can tell this by the strong figurative language used.
Sandra Cisneros uses the repetition of the pronoun "I" to emphasize that Esperanza is realizing her responsibilities as the oldest child.
This is an example of Esperanza realizing that her father is not a superhuman-like figure. In this vignette she comes out of the childhood stage that supports this idea.
This quote settles the idea that Esperanza's father is not a superhuman figure, but at the same time it shows that Esperanza is okay with the idea. She takes the time to realize that she would not know how else to deal with the situation herself.
Figurative Language
"...and then as if he just heard the news himself, crumples like a coat and cries, my brave Papa cries." (Cisneros 56)
"...the tomb with flowers shaped like spears" (Cisneros 56).
The comparison between Esperanza's father and a crumpled coat is used to help describe how emotionally torn and vulnerable he is. This comparison is tied in with the theme of growing up. Seeing her father as a weak person is part of Esperanza's maturing process.
In this quote, funeral flowers are being compared to spears. The comparison gives the text a gloomy and negative mood. It also shows Esperanza's negative attitude towards the funerals of her country of origin. This negative attitude could be connected to culture and identity: other themes found throughout the book, "The House on Mango Street".
The vignette, “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark”, is about Esperanza seeing the weaker and more vulnerable side of her father. One morning, her father wakes Esperanza up to tell her that her grandfather has died. When he does he falls apart, crying. Esperanza is shocked and sad to find her father so weak, but also realizes her responsibilities that come with being the oldest. She humbles her image of her father and accepts that he is human like everyone else. At the end, Esperanza assumes the caregiving role and comforts her father.

This vignette fits in with the novella by showing the progress of Esperanza growing up. It also ties with the novella through the humbling image of her father. Esperanza had always seen him as a sort of indestructible stronghold, but here is where she sees a more realistic version of the man. I believe the overall mood of the vignette is pity, as in the pity Esperanza feels toward her father.

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