The House on Mango Street

                       In The House on Mango Street., Esperanza experiences the difficulty for self-definition . The difficulty for self-definition is a common theme in a coming-of-age novel (sparknotes). In The House on Mango Street, Esperanza’s struggle to define herself underscores her every action and encounter. Esperanza must define herself both as a woman and as an artisan, and her perception of her individuality changes over the course of the novel In the vignette “Our Good Day” (p. 15), Esperanza wants to change her name so the other kids in her neighborhood wouldn’t laugh at the she” I wish my name was Cassandra or Alexis or Maritza- anything but Esperanza-but when I tell them my name they don’t laugh(p. 15)”. This shows that  Esperanza what to be included and not left out.  She wants to separate herself from her parents and her younger sister in order to create her own life, and changing her name seems to her an important step in that direction. Later, after she becomes more sexually aware, Esperanza would like to be “beautiful and cruel” (p. 89) so men will like her but not hurt her. She pursues that goal by becoming friends with Sally. After she is assaulted (p. 55), she doesn’t want to define herself as “beautiful and cruel . She the one that drives the men crazy and laughs them all away ”  Esperanza.  Eventually, Esperanza decides she does not need to set herself apart from the others in her neighborhood or her family heritage by changing her name. She stops forcing herself to develop sexually, which she isn’t fully ready for (spark notes). She receive her place in her community and decides that the most important way she can define herself is as a writer. As a writer, she observes and interacts with the world in a way that sets her apart from non-writers, giving her the legitimate new identity she’s been searching for. Writing promises to help her emotionally leave Mango Street, and possibly physically as well (p. 110). In The House on Mango Street, the writer does a good job of showing the reader how Esperanza overcomes her self-hatred, grows to love her culture, and grows in self-confidence and independence. Teenagers can relate to this coming-of-age novel because they, too, struggle to discover their own identities.