Sandra Cisneros’ strong cultural values greatly influence The House on Mango Street. Esperanza’s life is the medium that Cisneros uses to bring the Latin community to her audience. The novel deals with the Catholic Church and its position in the Latin community. The deep family connection within the barrio also plays an important role in the novel. Esperanza’s struggle to become a part of the world outside of Mango Street represents the desire many Chicanos have to grow beyond their neighborhoods.
Religion holds a powerful position in the lives of Latinos. It provides a built in censor of right and wrong in the form of extreme guilt (Aranda 150). The chapter “A Rice Sandwich” divulges the way guilt is established. Here Esperanza wants to eat at the canteen for lunch, but the nuns just insult her, and this makes her cry. She says they were “…pointing to a row of three ugly flats, the one the raggedy men are ashamed to go into. Yes…though I knew that wasn’t my house” (Cisneros 45). The fact that her victimizers were nuns made her even more embarrassed about where she lived than she already was.
Family can either be a brick of foundation or a wrecking ball in the Chicano world. Cisneros says, “We’re very family centered, and that family extends to the whole Raza” (Aranda 150). Throughout Mango Street Esperanza’s family is a brick of foundation. Esperanza’s best friend is her sister. She also has fun at her aunt’s expense, and she inherits her grandmother’s first name. This inheritance symbolizes the strong family bond of Latinos in their effort to keep the family names alive.
Esperanza dreams of someday having a satisfying life. She doesn’t want her path of freedom to be cleared by having a baby or finding a husband. She has no desires to fall into the trap of dependency. As the author writes, “Her power is her own. She will not give it away” (Cisneros 89).
Literature and Life in Of Human Bondage
Literature and Life in Of Human Bondage
In the novel Of Human Bondage, the reader comes across a truly magnificent quote on page 627. This quote is: “He had lived always in the future, and the present always, always had slipped through his fingers.” In and of itself, this is a very powerful quote. However, it can be given even more power and significance if a person can relate this quote to their own life and experiences. I myself, after reading this quote, was instantly able to identify with it.
This quote describes the middle school years and my early high school years almost perfectly. Many nights I would find myself staying in, watching TV, doing one thing or another around my house. I would almost never leave the house and I had nothing that could even remotely be called a social life. My reason for doing this to myself was that I spent most of my time thinking about my future and wishing for it to come. I had almost no kind of happiness for where I was or what I was doing in the present. I cut myself off from the outside world. I was rather shy around other people (I still am, admittedly) and I had very few friends.
It was not too long before I discovered the faults in my erroneous living. I finally realized, and truly not a moment too soon, that if I did not start living for the present, my future would soon become my neglected present. I would have wasted my life doing meaningless things and I would have no experience to share with anyone who may be interested in the uneventful life I had led. After I came to this startling revelation, I grew even more apathetic in my depression. I truly felt that there was nothing I could do to remedy this situation and was at a total loss for solutions. Soon enough, though, I concluded that there was no alternative to hard work to change the current state of affairs in my life. It was then that I truly embarked on the most difficult journey of my life thus far. This being the journey of self-alteration and successfully changing my own behavioral patterns.
My changes that I’ve done to myself have been quite noticeable to those people who’ve known me for a great number of years.