Chapter One And Two Summary Analysis

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The House on Mango Street Summary and Analysis Notes

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Chapter One And Two Summary Analysis

  1. 1. Chapter One: “House” Novel structure A series of short and interconnected chapters Concept: The narrator’s experience constantly moving from one poor district of Chicago to the next. Family: Mama, Papa, brothers Carlos and Kiki, sister Nenny Contrast: Idea of home vs. reality This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  2. 2. Chapter One: “House” Analysis Themes of home, family, poverty, and self-identity The narrator’s need for a home is very much related to her economic situation, her dreams for and frustrations toward her family, and her need to have a place of her own free from the constraints she finds both inside and outside her present domicile. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  3. 3. Chapter One: “House” Language and Style The style is best described as poetic prose The Chapter is an extended monologue by the narrator interspersed with flashback and sensory imagery. The language may appear awkward but it is with intention. The style reflects the disturbed thoughts and turbulent emotions of the narrator is experiencing. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  4. 4. Chapter One: “House” Language and Style The writing style is also very lyrical, boasting powerful descriptions and vivid dialogue. For example, “It’s small and red with tight steps in front and the 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.” This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  5. 5. Chapter One: “House” Metaphors The theme of belonging and displacement is directly correlated to that of home. When the narrator stresses that she must have “one I could point to”, she is referring to a character and identity of which she can be proud, as of her home, to call her own. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  6. 6. Chapter Two: “Hairs” Summary The narrator continues the introduction of her family; instead of bluntly describing their distinct personalities, the narrator differentiates among their hair types. The reader is expected to consider what hair textures and styles say about their wearer. The narrator lastly describes her mother’s hair in great detail. Her mother’s curls are like roses and candy. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  7. 7. Chapter Two: “Hairs” Analysis Different kinds of hair works as a metaphor for the distinct members of the narrator’s family. The single most important hairs for the narrator to describe are those of Mama. The quote, “little rosettes, like little candy circles all curly and pretty” conjures images of the mother’s appearance and personality. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  8. 8. Chapter Two: “Hairs” Analysis The narrator then moves beyond the physical beauty of her mother’s hair, delving deeper into Mama’s character by exploring her smell. The image of seeking comfort by burying oneself in a woman’s hair is common in literature, and reveals the refuge the narrator finds in physical contact with her mother. Similes are used to liken the scent of Mama’s hair to warmth, nourishment and craving. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  9. 9. Chapter Two: “Hairs” Poetic Prose: Cisneros’ Lyrical Style and Reminiscent Tone Language and syntax are used to transform the passage into lyrical memory, as if the narrator already knows how the image of her mother’s hair will conjure deep longing for the place and people she longs to leave. Syntax The repetition of “my mother’s hair” begins a series of eight interconnected memories and reflections. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  10. 10. Chapter Two: “Hairs” Poetic Prose: Cisneros’ Lyrical Style and Reminiscent Tone Mama herself then becomes a metaphor for home, a unifying theme of the novel. The last line repeats reflections the narrator expressed earlier, thus emphasizing how greatly the narrator values the unwavering haven provided by family and her awe for her mother, whose love is their true shelter. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.

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