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Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Summary   This chapter introduces the gender separation dominating the narrator's social and...
Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis   The "separate worlds" inhabited by boys and girls is a metaphor for the...
Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis   The syntax of the following sentence emphasizes how keenly the narrator feels, an...
Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis   This chapter concludes with a vivid metaphor;  the author describes her status of...
Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis   The second component of this metaphor is the anchor hindering the red balloon's f...
Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis   As Nenny is a family member, and the narrator's responsibility for her sister's w...
Chapter Four: “My Name” Summary In the fourth chapter we finally learn the narrator's name, Esperanza, which in English me...
Chapter Four: “My Name” Summary She expresses a desire to have known her  great-grandmother, who, according to family stor...
Chapter Four: “My Name” Summary Esperanza then compares the beauty of her name's proper pronunciation with the way she add...
Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis The meaning of Esperanza's name is a series of metaphors and similes. In Spanish, Esperan...
Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis Esperanza portrays her name as mundane with the metaphor "the number nine"- a s...
Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis Esperanza's name is also related to nostalgia.  Her name "is the Mexican records my ...
Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis The second to last paragraph enlightens the reader as to why a name that means "hope...
Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis Esperanza's desire to baptize herself under a new name indicates her desire to escape the...
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Chapter Three And Four Analysis

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The House on Mango Street Summary and Analysis

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Chapter Three And Four Analysis

  1. 1. Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Summary This chapter introduces the gender separation dominating the narrator's social and cultural experience. Outside of the home, brothers Carlos and Kiki are comrades, while the narrator and sister Nenny are playmates. The narrator then expresses dissatisfaction at being paired with her sister, who is "too young to be my friend." It is the narrator's responsibility to not only play with her sister, but to watch over her so that she isn't influenced by the wrong crowd, such as "those Vargas kids." This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  2. 2. Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis The "separate worlds" inhabited by boys and girls is a metaphor for the sexism and stereotypes that the narrator confronts and longs to escape. The narrator speaks with great irony when describing her brothers' hypocritical treatment of she and Nenny: "They've got plenty to say to me and Nenny inside the house. But outside they can't be seen talking to girls." This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  3. 3. Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis The syntax of the following sentence emphasizes how keenly the narrator feels, and perhaps resents, this gender separation even amongst family. "Carlos and Kiki are each other's best friend…not ours“ (8). The distinct place given to the blunt declaration "not ours" reveals the hurt the narrator feels. So too, the syntax emphasizes her hunger for true comradeship. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  4. 4. Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis This chapter concludes with a vivid metaphor; the author describes her status of waiting for a best friend as being "a red balloon tied to an anchor” (9). This description reveals that the narrator singles herself out for her differences, of which she seems keenly aware. She also considers her distinctions as a source of isolation, as she is alone, visibly different, and raised high for all to see. The narrator longs to escape; her way of being, like that of a helium balloon, demands it. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  5. 5. Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis The second component of this metaphor is the anchor hindering the red balloon's flight. On the most obvious level of meaning, this anchor is Nenny. The narrator's responsibilities to act as both friend and guardian to her little sister are a chore which limit her possibilities for finding other friendships. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  6. 6. Chapter Three: “Boys & Girls” Analysis As Nenny is a family member, and the narrator's responsibility for her sister's wellbeing is mandated by the family structure and separation of duties along gender lines, the anchor is also a metaphor for her family. The narrator is resentful of the ties which keep her in a place where feels misunderstood. Her age, place in the family structure, and duties to others keep her from fulfilling her dream of metaphorical flight-escape. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  7. 7. Chapter Four: “My Name” Summary In the fourth chapter we finally learn the narrator's name, Esperanza, which in English means "hope." Despite its literal meaning, the name connotes many negative ideas of melancholy and unfulfilled expectations. Esperanza explains that she was named after her great-grandmother, and that they share the Chinese birth year of the horse. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  8. 8. Chapter Four: “My Name” Summary She expresses a desire to have known her great-grandmother, who, according to family stories, was a wild woman until she was literally carried away to marry her great-grandfather. Esperanza expresses her conviction to avoid her predecessors fate - a life wasted in sadness and waiting by the window. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  9. 9. Chapter Four: “My Name” Summary Esperanza then compares the beauty of her name's proper pronunciation with the way she addressed at school. In Spanish Nenny's proper name, Magdalena, is uglier; nevertheless, Esperanza resents the fact that her sister at least has a nickname at home. Esperanza expresses a desire to give herself a name that reflects her true self; the choice she settles upon is "Zeze the X." This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  10. 10. Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis The meaning of Esperanza's name is a series of metaphors and similes. In Spanish, Esperanza means "too many letters"; on the literal level, this means that Esperanza feels her name is too long. This is a metaphor for hope and expectation, as "letters" could also indicated correspondences full of promises. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  11. 11. Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis Esperanza portrays her name as mundane with the metaphor "the number nine"- a symbol of the ordinary that indicates just how many letters comprise "too many." The metaphor "a muddy color" indicates that Esperanza sees no beauty or distinctiveness in her name; once again, we learn that the narrator resents her perceived commonality. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  12. 12. Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis Esperanza's name is also related to nostalgia. Her name "is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing"; this metaphor links her name to her family's county of origin and to the despondency of homesickness. Her name is related to family tradition; Esperanza sees her link in a legacy- she hears her own sadness and that of her family in her father's weekly tradition and she recognizes the uncanny parallels of name, fortune, and character she shares with her great-grandmother. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  13. 13. Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis The second to last paragraph enlightens the reader as to why a name that means "hope" could transmit such a sense of loss. The contrast between the harsh English mispronunciation to the melodic sounds of Spanish is another music metaphor celebrating the poignant emotion invoked by the sounds of Spanish. The repetition of metaphors indicates that the name Esperanza symbolizes the hope for the future that took Papa out of Mexico, and the disillusionment he, and consequently his family, experienced when the dream was translated- it's strength and beauty destroyed- into English. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.
  14. 14. Chapter Four: “My Name” Analysis Esperanza's desire to baptize herself under a new name indicates her desire to escape the history of hope unfulfilled into which she was born. This desire is linked to that of defeating poverty with a house of her own. Just as she feels she does not belong in the house on Mango Street, Esperanza feels her name does not do justice to the strong convictions and wistful aspirations of "the real me, the one nobody sees," repressed by poverty and machismo. This novel is as much about finding a place as it is about finding one’s self.

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