Brian Finnerty 2/6/10
English 162W Prof. Zino
“The House on Mango Street”
Through literature we can see a clear cut relationship between “space” and “place”.
From the readings of Yi-Fu Tuan in her book, Space and Place: The perspective of
Experience, and the short story by Sandra Cisneros, “The House on Mango Street”, we
learn that space and place help bring out people’s experiences in literature. Before
explaining how Cisneros uses space and place to explain her experiences in life, the
meaning of space and place should be given. From my short knowledge in the meaning of
space and place I believe that a place is something that you go to interact with other
individuals. I believe a space is something that means more sentimental to you and that
you go here to be alone.
A place can be anything that you go to on a daily basis. It could be a college, such as
Queens College or a stadium like Citi Field where the Mets play. A space can be
anywhere from a bedroom and closet to a field or basketball court. From class I learned
that a space is inside a place. This makes sense because inside Citi Field, which is a
place, lays a field where the Mets play on. As I said before a field like a baseball field can
be seen as a space to some. However, from the readings and class discussions so far, I
believe a place is more of a social experience than a space. I believe a space is
somewhere you go to find peace and order. Everyone’s space can be different. It
all depends on how the person looks at it.
In the short story, “The House on Mango Street”, by Sandra Cisneros, both space and
place are addressed to make her experience of traveling from house to house more livid
to the reader. Throughout the short story Cisneros writes about how much her family had
to move. From the reading we learn that she has moved on three different occasions
before she moved to the house on Mango Street. We also learn that the previous houses
she lived in were unsafe and beaten down. There was no heat because the water pipes
would break and everyone had to share a bedroom. The house that she lives in now is
somewhat better because they did not have to pay rent. They also would not have to make
sure they were making too much noise because of strict landlords. Even still she says “it’s
not the house we’d thought we’d get”. She wanted the experience of having a real house
and she realizes that the house on Mango Street isn’t it.
For Cisneros her place and space are very meaningful to her as shown in her reading.
Without the use of space and place her journey and experiences of moving from house to
house would not move the reader in the same way. From the reading I believe that her
“place” is the houses that she has lived in. For her “space” I believe that it is the time she
spent on the road moving to these different places. I think she had a lot of time to think
and to regroup when she was traveling with her family to move to these different houses.
I think that this time spent on the road with her family is very meaningful to her and
therefore she uses it to write about her experiences and journeys through life.
The short story, “The House on Mango Street” by Sandra Cisneros, and the in class
discussions about the meaning of place and space have helped me reach my conclusion
that both place and space share a clear cut connection. I believe that without us however a
place and space are nothing. I also believe that a space is in a place. Meaning that a house
can be seen as a place but inside the house a bedroom can be seen as a space. From the
reading by Cisneros I believe that she uses place and space to relate her life journey to the
readers life journey. We all can relate to this story because a lot of us have been put in the
same situation as her. Often people like ourselves have to move for the benefit of the
family. Cisneros’s use of space and place helps the readers get the main point that she is
trying to get across. I believe her main point is that everyone should be entitled to a home
that you can feel safe and secured in.