Recently, I was required to read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros as a class assignment. At first glance, I absolutely hated the book. The first couple vignettes I had read seemed like a random string of odd stories with no relation to one another. There was incorrect grammar, no explicit plot, and it was written in a childish voice. It was flat-out confusing to me.
However, from reading on further and from guidance from my teacher, I realized the true genius of Cisneros’s writing. Her style is definitely unique from all the books I have read. It was poetic, interconnected, and everything flowed together as one. Some concepts were a bit more difficult to grasp than others, but in the end, each vignette had a deeper meaning that reflected the development of the main character Esperanza perfectly.
For example, if you look at the following sentence from the vignette “Linoleum Roses”: “She likes looking at the walls, at how neatly their corners meet, the linoleum roses on the floor, the ceiling smooth as wedding cake.” Cisneros creates the image of one of the women, Sally being trapped in a box. All four walls are present, the floor symbolizing cheap love rests under her feet, and the ceiling is there, representing her marriage of artificial feelings. Through this one sentence, all these hidden ideas are written between the lines. Before, I would have skimmed right through this sentence without even thinking about its significance. The House on Mango Street has taught me to analyze the world and look for a deeper meaning in everything that I do.
Cisneros’s poetic writing has truly inspired me to dig deeper when creating stories. She has pushed me to look into the third dimension of my writing and add little details that all add up together.
Our class assignment for this book was to compile ten vignettes about your life, much like the vignettes in The House on Mango Street, expressing powerful ideas using short and concise wording. This project has actually inspired me to create this blog as I begin my search for the greater meaning of writing. Throughout the next couple of weeks, I will be posting a couple of my vignettes that I have written about my life.
I recommend the book The House on Mango Street for anyone who’s looking for a challenge to dig a little deeper!