The House on Mango Street
The Home Theme
The idea of home and houses are central to The House on Mango Street, as you may have noticed when you read the section "What's Up With the Title?" and our discussion of houses under "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory." Esperanza's major challenge in this novel is to overcome her feelings of isolation and experience a sense of belonging, which is another way of saying she needs to feel at home. For Esperanza, it's important both to have a home that she can point to as a way of explaining a past that she can be proud of, and to have a vision of a home in her future – something to inspire her.
Questions About The Home
- How do Esperanza's ideas of home change over the course of the book? When, if ever, does she finally come to feel like she has a home?
- If we think of "home" as a sense of belonging, what other characters do we see in The House on Mango Street who don't have a home?
- Do the homes that Esperanza envisions for herself differ from the home that she envisions for Sally? How so? What kind of dream home do you think Sally would envision for herself?
Chew on This
Esperanza needs both a house she can "point to" to legitimize her past and give her a way of explaining where she comes from, and a house that she can keep all to herself – one that allows her privacy and isolation – in order to inspire her and enable her to create.