OR Cultural Awareness personal reflection (4-6(individual), 6-8 (group) pages)–Up to 4 in a group. Write or representyour story in a style similar to The House on Mango Street.
You may choose a particular part of your lifeor event and you may represent your story creatively (as a portfolio, website,blog, media presentation, Ted Talk). Think about ideas of success andinquiry as you represent your childhood, adolescent, or young/adulthoodculture. What have you learned about yourself? How do you representyourself? House on Green Lane House on Mango Street isn’t a book that mylife particularly relates to. But I can say that certain events and situationsthat I have encountered can be related back to themes present in the House onMango Street.
One theme that is present in both my life as well as the book isthe struggle for self-definition. Throughout the book, Esperanza struggles tobe a woman and an artist. Throughout the book, we can clearly see howEsperanza’s perception of her identity changes. At first, she didn’t want toaccept her name so she can define herself apart from her ancestry and familyheritage.
She wanted to be away from her family so she could start a new lifeon her own and changing her name seemed to be an important step. We then seeEsperanza becoming more sexually aware. She attempts to become friends withSally to become “beautiful and cruel.” After her sexual assault experience, shethen becomes confused on who she is and what she wants sexually. I have seenexamples of this in my friends’ lives as well. Throughout my high schoolcareer, I had moved neighborhoods. I went from a predominately poor ethnicneighborhood to a rich White neighborhood. I have seen several cases of issuewith gender identity.
One of my African American friends wanted to come out asgay but was too afraid to tell her parents and hid it from them for almost twoyears. She felt that already being a minority that being gay would hinder heropportunities and would cause her parents to be both worried and scared forher. After several months of debating, my friend finally comes out to herparents and they took it pretty harshly. They blamed themselves for why she wasgay and seemed to look at the situation in a pessimistic way. Just like myethnic friend, one of my White friends was also gay. Being rich and well off,she was never worried about how being gay would affect her future. She told herparents as soon as she identified herself as gay and was able to move past thecoming out process pretty well.
Her parents also took it a lot better then theparents of my African American friend. This was the first time, I had seen adistinct difference in both cultures and was able to identify the reasoningbehind it. Another theme present throughout the book issexual identity. I can also relate this well to my life since my best friendhad struggles several times to sexually identify herself. All throughout highschool, my best friend had struggled through abusive relationships and wasnever truly happy with who she was. During our sophomore year, she came out asgay but no one believed her and it brought down her self-esteem.
She soon beganto doubt her own identity and failed to share with the world what her truefeeling were. This then got worse when she came to college. My friend wassexually assaulted during the first week of college and it took a huge toll onher academics as well as her social life. She soon began distancing herself andquestioned the reasoning behind her sexual identity and her gender itself. Shehas now overcome her past and is in therapy. This relates to House on MangoStreet because just like my friend, Esperanza had struggled with sexualidentity and after her sexual assault experiences she was confused with heridentity as well.
We also see a theme of unfulfilledresponsibility. Throughout the book, we see Esperanza take on moreresponsibilities. She initially starts out only being responsible for heryounger sister, Nenny. But as she becomes closer friends with Sally, she realizesthat she also has to be responsible for her as a friend.
In once scene, we seeEsperanza acting responsible for Sally by making sure she would not have tokiss a group of boys in the Monkey Garden. Later, when Esperanza needs someoneto take care of her, Sally fails to be a good friend which takes a toll onEsperanza. Being female friends, Esperanza expected Sally to protect her andwhen she didn’t it affected her relationship with herself. Esperanza eventuallyaccepts that and understand that she will always be the person to feelresponsible for others. I can relate to this well since I was the oldest childin my household. I have always had the responsibility of taking care of myyounger sisters even when they hadn’t felt the same way. Even today, I alwaysfeel responsible for their safety and well being even though they’re a lotolder and are capable of taking care of themselves.
House on Mango Street also has a bunch ofsymbols, which relate to the themes of the book. One of the main symbols wouldbe the shoes that the characters wear. Throughout the book, there are severalscenes where we witness how the type of shoes Esperanza wears evokes adifferent image of sex and adult femininity. Esperanza first makes thisconnection between high heels and sex when Lucy and Rachel try on some heelsthat a neighbor gave to them. To Esperanza, the shoes allowed them to becomepretty women with long legs instead of children. At first, Esperanza doesn’tthink much of them but items to play with, but eventually it takes a toll onher sexual life. As Esperanza is exposed to more shoes she realizes she can’tget rid of them so easily.
Later, we see a scene where Esperanza attends adance and is almost paralyzed since she did not wear heels. This shows howconsumed Esperanza became to the symbolism of the heels. She truly believedthat having heels would make her sexually mature. This kind of relates to myearly adolescence as well.
Ever since I was a kid, my parents were completelyagainst me wearing heels and as a child I didn’t understand that but nowlooking back, I see where they were coming from. Heels aren’t just about someshoes but they bring some maturity to you as a whole. It also affects the waypeople look at you which can make a huge difference in society.