The definition of a belonging is to(be rightly classified in or assigned to a specified category.) Esperanza, of The House on Mango Street, belongs to a distinct group and place. Growing up while frequently moving made belonging feel like not much of an issue. She always wanted better then what she had. Giving her will to move forward, but also denial in the situation she was placed into in the present. The House on Mango Street, written by Sandra Cisneros, describes belonging as something that is a part of us, rather then something we choose to be a part of. Sandra Cisneros explains belonging as something that’s not “rightly classified,” or “assigned” to an individual, but as something to be developed over time inside of us.
Something Esperanza seems to have trouble with is her name, and more broadly, her culture. Being a young Latino girl living in a dominantly Latino community, she seems to be distressed with the thought of belonging to her culture and therefore her community. “in English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting.” P 10. Esperanza says this early in the novel, establishing English with “hope” and Spanish as sadness. Not only is she somewhat ashamed of her own culture, she seems to be ashamed of the communitie’s as well. “All brown all around, we are safe. But watch us drive into a neighborhood of another color and our knees get shakity- shake and our car windows get rolled up tight and ours eyes look straight.”p. 28 Again comparing her culture to others culture. Saying that she doesn’t belong outside of her culture and community, but she doesn’t belong inside of it either. Lastly, demonstrated through a story she tells about Rafaela and her coconut and papaya juice, we see Esperanza’s desperate need to belong to something better. ” and always there is someone offering sweeter drinks, someone promising to keep them on a silver string.” P 80 This theme of longing for something better and not embracing the things that have shaped her as a person leave Esperanza alone in her dreams. Because she does not WANT to belong to her culture and community, does she belong?
"like it or not you are Mango Street, and one day you’ll come back too." P 107 The story ends with herself realizing that whether she agrees or not, she belongs to her culture and her community. Like most stories, Esperanza sees the good in her life after it has gone. She’s now grown up and finally accepted her life for what it really was and ultimately showing the reader what belonging to something is defined as. Teaching us that some of the greatest insecurities are what ultimately let us belong and make us belong. Teaching us that being apart of something makes growth and change possible. Best said by a grown Esperanza describing Mango Street, "she does not hold me with both arms. She sets me free." P. 110
I decided to visit the Boston Public Gardens today, to see the bench from Good Will Hunting, so I could pay my respects to one of my idols. I wasn’t alone, as crowds of young and old stood near, bound together by sadness.
Rest in peace Robin.
Your character falls into the “friend zone” - Is this primarily a man’s problem, or are women put in the friend zone as well? x