The Influence of Setting in The House on Mango Street

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According to Jay Braiman, the setting represents “The time and the place where a story occurs.” The setting can be specific as a particular location in a story, or it can be ambiguous as just a generalized area (Braiman). In The House on Mango Street, the setting refers directly towards the house which is located on Mango Street. This house impacts the main character and her entire family as the story progresses. Sandra Cisneros uses the setting in The House on Mango Street to exemplify the family’s true characteristics by showing the transition from their past to their present, and on to their expected future in their soon to be dream home. The main character and narrator of the story is a young girl named Esperanza Cordero (Bradley). She belongs to a large family of six that continues to grow at each stop on their journey from house to house. As she reflects on her past, she remembers nothing but “moving a lot.” Though moving can sometimes seem exciting, this situation turned out to be completely the opposite. Esperanza feels ashamed of her past and her current living conditions. During a conversation with a nun at her previous school, she felt embarrassed to reveal the location of her home. Through this time of discomfort however, she gains a sense of motivation. She is determined to fulfill her dream and declares “I knew then I had to have a house. A real house. One I could point to” (Cisneros). Even at her young age, Esperanza recalls living in five different locations, none of which she chooses to call her home. Her family has always been poor and they have done nothing to remove themselves from poverty’s grasps. Her last living quarters was on Loomis, a small flat in the third story of an old house. Not long after they moved there, they quickly left. The water pipes broke and because of the house’s age, the landlord refused to
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