You are watching: Personification in the house on mango street
Esperanza wants a house of her own so badly that her dream seems to be an extension of herself. The house does not only represent a living space but Esperanza"s life. Also, she associates her place of living as a status symbol because people seem to judge her worth based...
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Esperanza wants a house of her own so badly that her dream seems to be an extension of herself. The house does not only represent a living space but Esperanza"s life. Also, she associates her place of living as a status symbol because people seem to judge her worth based on her home. For example, Esperanza is embarrassed when a nun from her school meets her on the street and asks where she lives. Esperanza points to the apartment building where she lives at the time and the nun says, "You live there?" Esperanza"s response is, "The way she said it made me feel like nothing" (5).
As a result of such shame associated with her apartment building, Esperanza"s excitement drops when she sees the house on Mango Street and is disappointed. Her disappointment is reflected in the personified description of the house:
"It"s small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small you"d think they were holding their breath. Bricks are crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in" (4).
From the above passage, it seems as though Esperanza is projecting her human thoughts and feelings onto the house. She probably wonders how any air will come through such tiny windows and allow the house (i.e. the people in it) to breathe. Further, with how small the house is, she will feel cramped inside sharing one bedroom with the whole family, which also suggests her concern for lack of breathing space as well as physical space. Thus, using personification for the house being able to breathe helps to identify and describe how Esperanza is feeling.
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There is another time that personification is used, too. When Esperanza describes her dream home, she says, ". . . maybe your feet would stop in front of a house, a nice one with flowers and big windows and steps for you to climb up two by two upstairs to where a room is waiting for you" (82). Rooms can"t wait but humans can. This use of personification shows how Esperanza dreams of a house as though it were a welcoming family member. As with most literary devices, Cisneros uses these examples of personification to provide a deeper, more human connection between the protagonist and the house so that readers can connect with the way Esperanza feels. If readers can relate to a character better through the use of personification, then the device has done what it was meant to do.