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The House On Mango Street

Family Relationships

Compiled by Kristin Turner

My subtopic is family relationships.  This subtopic concerns Esperanza because, like many of us, she has a family.  Her family is different from a lot of ours, though, because of how close-knit they are.  They stick to their culture and what they believe in no matter who taunts them, and if one of them is in a predicament, another family member helps them out.

She also has a lot of friends who have very disturbing family lives.  There's Sally, Rachel and Lucy, Alicia's family, and a few others.  The reason I think their lives were disturbing is because Sally was most likely sexually abused and beat by her father, Rachel and Lucy are like little "hood-rats," Alicia had a dysfunctional relationship with her father, and some others.

There's a few more that the book doesn't really focus on such as the Vargas' and Ruthie's family.  The Vargas children had problems obeying their parents and they were wild.  Ruthie had a mental disability and her mother, who Ruthie lived with, did not seem like a very caring person.

I want to show people that there are problems in The House On Mango Street, that are real, that are all over, and we don't even see them.  Some of the situations in this book are risky and life changing, and Cisneros doesn't fully publish this fact.   She lets it slide, in a way, and we have to figure out what she's saying on our own.

I also want to show everyone that if you have a bad family situation, your friends turn into your family.  Then, when something happens to your friends, or when they turn their backs on you, you start to feel displaced and lonely.  That's what this web page will show you.

Basically, I just want to explain one large issue that plagued Mango Street.  I want to make people understand that life on this street was not always happy.

 

The students were asked to rewrite the ending of "The Monkey Garden" as part of an assignment. The students were to imagine that they had gone back to the garden 10 years later.- LGCH

 

Rewrites of the End of  "The Monkey Garden"

By Amy Peterson

 I breathed in the sweet-honey scented June air. The humid warmness surrounded my body like a blanket. A smile played on my lips as I realized that I finally had a moment to myself. What shall I do? My feet itched to begin a journey. I sighed as I let them lead me to where they wanted to go.

Suddenly I found myself in an unfamiliar placed . It took me several moments to recognize the Monkey Garden. My eyes searched the weed covered lot. Memories of several games of hide-and-seek and tag came flooding back to me. I could almost hear the Vargas’ laughter fill the air as it had when they chased each other around.

The sight of the old blue pickup buried beneath the dead plants filled my vision. The old tarp that had once been the roof to our clubhouse still hung from the branch overhead. Sunflowers taller than the pickup itself stood a few feet away from the automobile. My feet slowly glided across the crumbled pathway as I continued my journey through the hidden jungle.

Blood red cockscombs peeped through the weeds making the plants look like bodies on a battlefield fresh with battle wounds. I kicked some rocks over with the tip of my worn sneaker and familiar blue skinned beetles scurried to find new hiding places. Slowly, I turned around and my sigh came to rest on the thatch of trees at the other end of the garden.

Laughter rose from my throat as I remember how I had run under those trees to lye down to die after that horrible day with Sally. All of it seemed so unimportant now. I picked a few velvet purple roses from the overgrown bush attached to the wire fence. Crushing them to my nose I inhaled the sweet fragrance. Yes, it all was so unimportant. It may have taken awhile to realize, but Sally and I were different. We all didn’t grow up the same, so we didn’t act the same. Maybe that is why Tito’s offer to give each of the boys a kiss had been so repulsive to me, but an act of pleasure to Sally.

The tall weeds began to make my ankles itch so I trudged my way over to the hibiscus tree in the corner of the garden. I took a seat on the rope swing Eddie Vargas had made. My legs began to pump back and forth, and soon it seemed like I was flying. A vision of colors, blue, green, red, yellow, orange. All of them filled my eyes as I flew higher and higher. Finally a voice cut through my concentration.

" Esperanza! Esperanza!" I stopped pumping and the swing came crashing back to Earth. I looked up from my dirt covered sneakers and saw Lucy and Rachel standing before me.

" My mother gave me money so get some ice cream. Do you want to come? We have enough." Rachel held out a hand full of change. I spoke not a word as I laughed at my friends before tagging Lucy It. I ran and ran like the wind all the way to the corner. Lucy could never catch me. Before they caught up to me, I blew a kiss into the air. Goodbye. Goodbye, my Monkey Garden.

 

by Lawrence Monaco

When I returned to the garden, I found that not much had changed. The cars were a bit rusted, and the stone walls didn’t seem as sturdy, but that was it. All was still and I remembered all the games I played here as a child, when running around in circles and getting dirty was fun. I was so nave and immature then, I couldn’t believe how much I had changed in only a few months. Sometimes I wondered if I would’ve changed at all if it weren’t for Sally. She made me realize that it was time for me to move on. Time to stop playing children games with little kids and start doing adult things with kids my age. Yes, I owe it all to Sally. It was then that I decided to go visit my friend. But first I had to go behind the car and get my keys back from Tito and his friends.

 

 

by Jennifer Hollowniczky

As I walk into the garden I see the same old cars that were there before except they look different to me. Not because of their physical changes but because of the reason their there. I wonder why they were left and what is their story. It brings a dreary sort of look to the garden.

Now I start to realize how others feel about it. Leaving their cars, littering on its land, and not attending to its needs, makes me believe that people don’t care to stop and take a look at its true meaning.

I to once felt the same way as others. I felt it was a convenience for a place to play my childish games and fool around with my friends. Now when I look at it I think of its everlasting beauty and solidarity. I can be myself and be alone in this garden. I can see the true meaning of its existence and be creative about the events that occurred there before I stumbled upon it.

 

by Lynne Sheppard

The cars I once viewed as a playhouse now lost its magical touch. The once sweet, sweet pear tree now only grows sour fruit. The thick, soft grass that use to be a bed for sleepy children is now a rocky bed of dirt. The garden that was a place filled with bees buzzing, children laughing, and flies’ humming is now quiet.

My viewpoint of the garden changed as I realized this was not a safe haven. The one place where I thought I could be a child again has disappeared. The garden cannot protect me from the outside world.

 

by Laura Brientnall

Four weeks later, we all decided to go back to the garden. I hadn’t been there for a month or so because I was afraid of the "Sally incident " happening all over again. I didn’t want that same inferior feeling to be approached. Sally and I are talking now, we both decided it was stupid, although I feel different around her now.

We entered the garden and it looked a little different but not much. Nennie, Tito, Eddie, Sally and the rest of them walked into the garden and began running and playing. It felt awkward as I watched them play and I longed for the joy we once had in the garden before Sally kissed the boys and made me feel like a nuisance. After sulking for a while, I realized it wasn’t worth it to watch my friends have fun while I recaptured my experiences. I got up and ran over to the rocks they were playing on and joined my friends. All of a sudden, I became part of the group again. I felt wanted.

The monkey doesn’t live here anymore. He moved to Kentucky.

 

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Last updated:  Sunday, March 18, 2001

1998 - Hill, Lara and her English 1 Honors Class