The House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros
The House on Mango Street Identity Quotes
How we cite our quotes: Citations follow this format: (Chapter.Paragraph)
You will always be Esperanza. You will always be Mango Street. You can't erase what you know. You can't forget who you are. (41.32)
Like it or not, Esperanza has to face the fact that her experiences on Mango Street have shaped her identity. Somehow, the place that Esperanza has lived for a year has become part of who she is.
I make a story for my life, for each step my brown shoe takes. I say, "And so she trudged up the wooden stairs, her sad brown shoes taking her to the house she never liked." (44.2)
We love the ambiguity of the phrase "I make a story for my life." Yes, Esperanza is a character who takes her life and makes a story for it – her storytelling makes her life more bearable. But she's also a fictional character in a story we're reading – her life is a story. Here, Esperanza's story about her sad brown shoes, a story within a story, highlights her identity as both storyteller and fictional character.
I put it down on paper and then the ghost does not ache so much. (44.5)
Esperanza has really embraced her identity as a writer in the last chapter of the novel. When Esperanza describes Mango Street as "the ghost," it's as if she's already projecting herself into a future in which she's moved away from her childhood home, and Mango Street is merely a memory whose pain is eased by writing.