“The House on Mango Street”

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.

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4 Responses to “The House on Mango Street”

  1. kayyzees says:

    I agree with Brian Finnerty’s blog and can relate to myself. Mister Finnerty mentions that “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.” She does try to convey that everyone should be able to call a place and space, a home. She is trying to say that a space and place is where someone is able to feel secure and comfortable being in that environment and not having a bitter feeling at the end of the day. I can agree, with what Brian said as Mets Fans, Citi Field is a place for all fans to enjoy a ballgame. And for the athletes that play for the Mets, the field can be their space and comfort zone where they are happy to be.

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