The House on Mango Street - Characterization

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Esperanza: the Person Behind the Print
In The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, a little girl from a Latino heritage is given birth to. Not literally, but in the sense of characterization. Esperanza is a fictional character made up by Cisneros to bring about sensitive, alert, and rich literature. She is the protagonist in the novel and is used to depict a female’s life growing up in the Latino section of Chicago. Cisneros creates the illusion that Esperanza is a real human being to communicate the struggles of growing up as a Latina immigrant in a modern world, by giving her a name, elaborating her thoughts and feelings, and illustrating her growth as a person through major events.

To give a character life they first have to be given a name and Cisneros was very diligent by giving her character the name Esperanza and not something like “Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X” (11). Names say it all, they represent the origins of people, the religions they observe, the values they hold, and are the first gift a person receives after being born. Overall, the power of a name is as ancient as its meaning. Knowing someone’s name already expresses an emotional bond and Cisneros does well with this to connect with her readers. Cisneros names her character Esperanza to represent her roots, her history, and the background she dearly wishes to change. Esperanza is of Spanish-Mexican origin and she despises her name. Her namesake comes from her great-grandmother, “she looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow… Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don’t want to inherit her place by the window” (11). Cisneros sets the story line by embodying the character in a real life setting of a Mexican immigrant and because of her name Esperanza already has worries that she will not become all she wants to be and that she will live her life just like her great-grandmother, by the place by the window. The real meaning behind...
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