Samuel Johnson once said “Some desire is necessary to keep life in motion.” Esperanza has a lot of desire for the home that she can point to, the house that she can feel she belongs to, and that desire helps push her to getting that house. In The House on Mango Street, a novella by Sandra Cisneros, the main character, Esperanza, has many important life experiences and learns how to be free and independent from those experiences. Esperanza also learns to grow up in the novella. To grow from an insecure girl to a young woman with much confidence, Esperanza has to take her life experiences and the life experiences of the women around her and see how she can make her future better than what she’s seen.
In the beginning of the book, Esperanza is a very immature, insecure, young girl. For example, Esperanza’s immaturity is obvious in this passage, “If you give me five dollars I will be your friend forever. That’s what the little one tells me. Five dollars is cheap since I don’t have any friends except Cathy who is only my friend till Tuesday.” This shows Esperanza is immature because children give each other items and become “friends” that way. This also shows that Esperanza is immature because she says that her friendship with Cathy can only last until Tuesday. Also, Esperanza is insecure in the beginning of the novella. For instance, her insecurity shows when she says “There. I had to look to where she pointed – the third floor, the paint peeling, wooden bars Papa had nailed on the windows so we wouldn’t fall out. You live there? The way she said it made me feel like nothing. There. I lived there. I nodded.” This shows that Esperanza is very insecure about the conditions of her house. It also shows that Esperanza thinks that she has to have a house that looks perfect. It is obvious that Esperanza is very immature and insecure, but as she gets older, she goes through experiences that make her more mature.
As Esperanza begins to grow into a teenager, she begins to gain confidence in herself. Esperanza says, “She is too many light years away. She is in a world we don’t belong to anymore. Nenny. Going. Going.” Esperanza means that Nenny is in a child’s world, which she, Lucy, and Rachel have already left. When Esperanza says “light years” she means that she is very far away from being a child anymore. Furthermore, Esperanza shows that she is beginning to have confidence in herself. For instance, Esperanza says, “I have begun my own quiet war. Simple. Sure. I am one who leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate.” Esperanza shows she is gaining confidence in herself by acting like a man who is head of the household. She also shows that she won’t let anyone tell her what she can’t do and keep her within certain limits. As Esperanza begins to gain confidence, she also begins to gain independence.
When Esperanza is grown up, she is confident of herself and independent. For example, Esperanza said “Not a flat. Not an apartment in back. Not a man’s house. Not a daddy’s. A house all my own.” (Cisneros 108). Esperanza has gained confidence after all the life experiences she and the people around her have gone through. Esperanza is confident that she does not need anyone to help her through life anymore. She is confident and does not want to give away the power she holds over herself. Esperanza also gains independence as an adult. For instance, Esperanza said “One day I will say goodbye to Mango. I am too strong for her to keep me here forever.” (Cisneros 110). Esperanza explains that she will be independent by leaving Mango Street. She is also saying that because she is independent, she does not need anymore help. She is saying that she is already strong enough to leave Mango Street. Esperanza went into the final stage of her life, she is now an adult and has all the characteristics of one.
After seeing women who have been abused or locked away in their homes by their husbands, Esperanza has made her life better by seeing the unfortunate mishaps that have happened to other women and made sure that they do not happen to her. In doing so, she has allowed herself to gain confidence and be independent. Had Esperanza not seen the bad sides to life, even if she should not have at such a young age, she would not have learned that in addition to the good things in life, there can be situations that she does not want to encounter. In learning that important life lesson, she allowed herself to be independent so that she does not have to rely on her father or a husband, and be confident of herself. If a young girl in today’s society were to be in one of the unfortunate situations in this novella, they could benefit some by reading this book.