WRT 101 M-W 10:40-11:55
November 26, 2012
“The Setting of the House on Mango Street”
The short story, “The House on Mango Street,” is a story that is centered within a particular neighborhood, which is evidently inhabited by middle-to-lower class folks. Although the introduction of the story does not state a specific location, it is safe to say that it is not the typical neighborhood where you would find rich white folks living. For example, the house where the protagonists live is described as almost collapsing due to brick damage; something that would not be an issue within a richer neighborhood. Evidently, the setting is one of the most important elements that constructs the first chapter. The House on Mango Street would serve a completely different purpose if it were not for its setting. By centering the story on the setting, Sandra Cisneros effectively emphasizes the underlying struggle of the novel.
The introductory paragraph of “The House on Mango Street” exemplifies how the novel is centralized on the setting. In this paragraph, the narrator explains how her family has been constantly moving from neighborhood to neighborhood. She explains that moving to their new home on Mango Street was nothing out of the ordinary. She does this by pointing out that every time they moved, there happened to be an additional member within the family. The manner in which the narrator describes her family’s consistency of moving, gives the impression that it is the most normal thing in the world. For example, the narrator states in the text that before moving to Mango Street, “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.” By stating some of the previous places where they have lived, and by reaching a point where she cannot even remember another place prior to living in ‘Paulina’, the narrator strongly emphasizes the fact that moving from place to