The House On Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros tells the story of Esperanza Cordero through beautiful vignettes and the narrator describing how her family first arrived on Mango Street. When the pipes in their previous apartment burst and the landlord refused to repair them, she , her parents, brothers Carlos and Kiki , and sister Nenny moved to Mango Street. Esperanza had not been hoping for a small , decaying red house in a poor urban neighborhood when her parents promised to move the family to a house on Mango Street. Esperanza, who is often followed by her younger sister Nenny, meets the other residents of Mango Street and describes their often difficult lives in a series of vignettes . In a coming of age book, the main concept is the search for self-definition , and in The House on Mango Street , Esperanza’s struggle to define herself underpins her every action and encounter.
Esperanza must describe herself both as a woman and as a artist , and her sense of her identity shifts over the course of the novel. In the beginning of the novel Esperanza tries to change her name so that she can define herself on her own terms , instead of accepting a name that reflects her family heritage. In “My Name” vignette , on page 11 it states , “I would like to baptize myself under a new name , a name more like the real me , the one nobody sees. Esperanza as Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X. Yes. Something like Zeze the X will do.” She wants to distance herself from her parents and younger sister in order to build her own life, and changing her name seems like a good first step.
Esperanza later decides that she wants to be “beautiful and cruel” so that men can like her , and she pursues this intention by becoming friends with Sally. She no longer wants to describe herself as “beautiful and cruel” after being assaulted and she is once again uncertain about who she is .In “beautiful and cruel” vignette , on page 89 it states, “ In movies there is always one with red lips who is beautiful and cruel. She is the one who drives the men crazy and laughs them all away. Her power is her own. She will not give it away.” And also In “ Red Clowns” vignette, on page 99 and 100 , “Those boys that look at you because you’re pretty. I like at be with you , Sally . You’re my friend .But that big boy , where did he take you? I waited such a long time. I waited by the red clowns, just like you said , but you never came , you never came for me.