The child’s perception of the house in, The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, is a very Americanized observation. She believes that a house can only equal a detached building with room for her. She does not view a house as a simple apartment or “flat”. Espranza confuses the structure of a house with the meaning of home intertwined in the vision of the American dream.
Her perception of a house is her determination to accomplish her version of the American Dream. Throughout the novel, Espranza describes the harsh realties of her world through the lens of a child. Her desire for a house represents the desire to get out her improvised world and into a world where she can, “point at her house” (4). She aspires to go beyond the financial stage of her parents and obtain a house of her own.
My experience with Beans and Bread and my conversations with the attendants of Beans and Bread have given me a new insight into the way the people of the city view their houses. They do not perceive a house as a structure that symbolizes their financial state as Espranza does. The people I have interacted with view their houses as simply shelter and protection from Baltimore elements. Their focus is not on the building, but rather the inhabitants of that house which makes it a home.
An elder lady I spoke with described the area she lived in. She said that her house was an apartment near the stadium. It was not a good location, but it was close to her job. She said that she chose to live in that area so that to should could take care of her daughter, who just had a baby. It does not matter where you live as long as you enjoy the company you are keeping.
Ezpranza wanted to go beyond the “company she was keeping”. She wanted something more for herself, and was not focused on what her parents had already provided for her.
As mentioned in Jane Jacobs Death and Life of the American City, city planners do not focus on community and the necessary aspects of a city and community needs to survive. It is not about how the city is laid out to best suit the planners, the planners need to look beyond blue-prints and reach into the heart of humanity and seek how humans survive and thrive, through the support of each other. Cities nurture their inhabitants with each other.