The House on Mango Street: Novel Summary: Meme Ortiz

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Summary
When Cathy and her family move out of their house, Juan "Meme" Ortiz, his mother, and his sheepdog move in. The dog has two names, one in English and one in Spanish (Esperanza does not tell us what those names are). Esperanza and Meme play in Meme's backyard, staging "the First Annual Tarzan Jumping Contest" from a large tree in the yard. "Meme won," Esperanza tells us, before adding, "And broke both arms."
 
Analysis
This scene portrays Esperanza and Meme playing innocently, as children do. Cisneros could be laying the groundwork for Esperanza's loss of innocence later in the novel, as Esperanza continues to move toward adolescence and, ultimately, adulthood. Another notable aspect of this vignette is that Juan has done what Esperanza wishes to do (see "My Name"): he has renamed himself. To some degree, he has forged his own identity, as Esperanza is still in the process of doing. Connected to the issue of Meme/Juan's name is the fact that his dog has two names. We may not need to learn what those names are because the simple fact that the dog has them is more significant: like Esperanza (see, again, "My Name"), the dog lives between two worlds, the English-speaking and the Spanish-speaking world.

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