The House on Mango Street: Novel Summary: My Name

Average Overall Rating: 4
Total Votes: 4840

Summary
Esperanza, whose name means "hope" in Spanish, seems to feel burdened by her name. "It was my great-grandmother's name and now it is mine." She recounts the family story of how her great-grandmother was "a wild horse of a woman" until her great-grandfather absconded with her. Esperanza intends to avoid her great-grandmother's fate: "I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window." While her name is beautiful among Spanish speakers, among English speakers it is "funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth." She wishes she could baptize herself "under a new name, a name more like the real me."
 
Analysis
This vignette further develops Esperanza's desire to become her own person-or, perhaps more accurately, to express "the real me" she already feels she is. She wants a new name because "Esperanza" is an old name, carrying with it an unwanted legacy-her great-grandmother's domestication-and the unwelcome effect of separating her from others-English-speakers who cannot pronounce it beautifully as it should be. Esperanza straddles two communities (the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking) and two selves (the girl others see and "the real me"). She references baptism, the Christian sacrament in which people are given new names ("christened"). Baptism also connotes new birth-an association also appropriate to Esperanza's desire, in effect, to give birth to "the real me."

 The House on Mango Street Study Guide

Choose to Continue

Quotes: Search by Author

A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z