OR a woman and an artist. Throughout the book,

OR Cultural Awareness personal reflection (4-6
(individual), 6-8 (group) pages)–Up to 4 in a group.  Write or represent
your story in a style similar to The House on Mango Street.
 You may choose a particular part of your life
or event and you may represent your story creatively (as a portfolio, website,
blog, media presentation, Ted Talk).  Think about ideas of success and
inquiry as you represent your childhood, adolescent, or young/adulthood
culture.  What have you learned about yourself?  How do you represent
yourself?

 

House on Green Lane

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House on Mango Street isn’t a book that my
life particularly relates to. But I can say that certain events and situations
that I have encountered can be related back to themes present in the House on
Mango Street. One theme that is present in both my life as well as the book is
the struggle for self-definition. Throughout the book, Esperanza struggles to
be a woman and an artist. Throughout the book, we can clearly see how
Esperanza’s perception of her identity changes. At first, she didn’t want to
accept her name so she can define herself apart from her ancestry and family
heritage. She wanted to be away from her family so she could start a new life
on her own and changing her name seemed to be an important step. We then see
Esperanza becoming more sexually aware. She attempts to become friends with
Sally to become “beautiful and cruel.” After her sexual assault experience, she
then becomes confused on who she is and what she wants sexually. I have seen
examples of this in my friends’ lives as well. Throughout my high school
career, I had moved neighborhoods. I went from a predominately poor ethnic
neighborhood to a rich White neighborhood. I have seen several cases of issue
with gender identity. One of my African American friends wanted to come out as
gay but was too afraid to tell her parents and hid it from them for almost two
years. She felt that already being a minority that being gay would hinder her
opportunities and would cause her parents to be both worried and scared for
her. After several months of debating, my friend finally comes out to her
parents and they took it pretty harshly. They blamed themselves for why she was
gay and seemed to look at the situation in a pessimistic way. Just like my
ethnic friend, one of my White friends was also gay. Being rich and well off,
she was never worried about how being gay would affect her future. She told her
parents as soon as she identified herself as gay and was able to move past the
coming out process pretty well. Her parents also took it a lot better then the
parents of my African American friend. This was the first time, I had seen a
distinct difference in both cultures and was able to identify the reasoning
behind it.

Another theme present throughout the book is
sexual identity. I can also relate this well to my life since my best friend
had struggles several times to sexually identify herself. All throughout high
school, my best friend had struggled through abusive relationships and was
never truly happy with who she was. During our sophomore year, she came out as
gay but no one believed her and it brought down her self-esteem. She soon began
to doubt her own identity and failed to share with the world what her true
feeling were. This then got worse when she came to college. My friend was
sexually assaulted during the first week of college and it took a huge toll on
her academics as well as her social life. She soon began distancing herself and
questioned the reasoning behind her sexual identity and her gender itself. She
has now overcome her past and is in therapy. This relates to House on Mango
Street because just like my friend, Esperanza had struggled with sexual
identity and after her sexual assault experiences she was confused with her
identity as well.

We also see a theme of unfulfilled
responsibility. Throughout the book, we see Esperanza take on more
responsibilities. She initially starts out only being responsible for her
younger sister, Nenny. But as she becomes closer friends with Sally, she realizes
that she also has to be responsible for her as a friend. In once scene, we see
Esperanza acting responsible for Sally by making sure she would not have to
kiss a group of boys in the Monkey Garden. Later, when Esperanza needs someone
to take care of her, Sally fails to be a good friend which takes a toll on
Esperanza. Being female friends, Esperanza expected Sally to protect her and
when she didn’t it affected her relationship with herself. Esperanza eventually
accepts that and understand that she will always be the person to feel
responsible for others. I can relate to this well since I was the oldest child
in my household. I have always had the responsibility of taking care of my
younger sisters even when they hadn’t felt the same way. Even today, I always
feel responsible for their safety and well being even though they’re a lot
older and are capable of taking care of themselves.

House on Mango Street also has a bunch of
symbols, which relate to the themes of the book. One of the main symbols would
be the shoes that the characters wear. Throughout the book, there are several
scenes where we witness how the type of shoes Esperanza wears evokes a
different image of sex and adult femininity. Esperanza first makes this
connection between high heels and sex when Lucy and Rachel try on some heels
that a neighbor gave to them. To Esperanza, the shoes allowed them to become
pretty women with long legs instead of children. At first, Esperanza doesn’t
think much of them but items to play with, but eventually it takes a toll on
her sexual life. As Esperanza is exposed to more shoes she realizes she can’t
get rid of them so easily. Later, we see a scene where Esperanza attends a
dance and is almost paralyzed since she did not wear heels. This shows how
consumed Esperanza became to the symbolism of the heels. She truly believed
that having heels would make her sexually mature. This kind of relates to my
early adolescence as well. Ever since I was a kid, my parents were completely
against me wearing heels and as a child I didn’t understand that but now
looking back, I see where they were coming from. Heels aren’t just about some
shoes but they bring some maturity to you as a whole. It also affects the way
people look at you which can make a huge difference in society.