The House on Mango Street: Novel Summary: Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin

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Summary
We meet more residents of Mango Street in this vignette. Meme's house has a basement apartment rented by Louie and his family, who are from Puerto Rico. Louie is the oldest, with younger sisters. His female cousin, Marin, lives with them because her own family is still in Puerto Rico. Louie has another cousin who is apparently in trouble with the law: once, he arrived at the house driving a "great big yellow Cadillac" and gave rides to everyone, until the police arrived and started chasing Louie's cousin, who crashed the car into a lamppost and was arrested.
 
Analysis
This vignette, by telling us that Louie and his family are Puerto Rican, reinforces the diversity of the Mango Street community-a reinforcement that is necessary given the dismissal of that community by people like Cathy as monolithic (see Esperanza's comment "every time people like us keep moving in" in "Cathy Queen of Cats"). It also shows two different ways of responding to the dreams for a better life that so many on Mango Street share: Marin sells Avon products, and Louie's other cousin, thinking he is and acting like an important person, steals a car. Too often, the dominant portion of a society is quick to seize upon people like Louie's other cousin as a negative example of the minority population, and such individuals become stereotypes. Again, Cisneros' narrative reminds us, subtly but surely, that the Mango Street community is diverse and, like any community, contains law-abiding citizens as well as lawbreakers, irrespective of racial background. Further, in depicting Louie's other cousin's joyride, the vignette may serve as a critique of the dominant social mores, that place such a priority on material possessions, such as "great big yellow Cadillac[s]."

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