What is the american dream? Many people will answer that question by saying being successful in america. Others would say that having a nice house in a good neighboorhood, a good marriage, two kids and a golden retreiver is the american dream. Unlike these beliefs of what the american dream is for many latinos that come to this country the american dream is simply one word, survival. For esperanza her american dream is to get out of mango street. Something that she wishes for and is certain that when the time comes she will do.
The house on mango street by Sandra Cisneros manifest all the stuggles and hardships latinos go through when they come to this country to try and achieve the american dream. Imagine going outside and not being able to read what the signs in the street say, or going to eat somewhere and not being able to get what you want because no one understands the language you speak. This is a huge struggle that all latinos face when they come here, the language barrier. Home is something that is far far away for latino immigrants. Home is family, friends, smells, food, familiar faces, the place you love.
Something that most latinos don’t have when they come to america. Esperansa knows that mango street isn’t the home she wants. Longing for home is sometimes the biggest stuggle of being an immigrant. Something that esperanza has dealt with her entire life. In the story esperanza learns that achieving your dreams are very difficult speacially if you are a latino women. The first stuggle that latinos have to overcome when they come here is the language barrier. Something that mamacita in “No speak english” does not understand. Mamacita is a women who doesn’t want to change her lifestyle to the american way.
She only knows a few words and like many latinos no speak english is the main thing she says. Esperanza believes that “she doesn’t comes out because she is afraid to speak english”. Many latino immigrants go through the same thing. If it’s not the financial situation, meaning that they cant afford to go to school to learn english. Or just plain embarrasment of people laughing at them if they try to speak, like when esperanza’s dad ate “hamandeggs” for his first three months of being in america because he did not know any other words.
This is a barrier that holds a lot of people back. It is not easy trying to achieve the american dream without learning the language first. Esperanza associates the power of language as a way out of mango street. She views her ability to write as the freedom and ticket out of the “barrio”. Not having a place to call home is also a big struggle that latinos have to overcome in able achieve the american dream. “Home is where the heart is. ” Cisneros develops this famous statement to depict what a “home” really represents. What is a home?
Is it a house with four walls and a roof, the neighborhood of kids while growing up, or a unique Cleaver household where everything is perfect and no problems arise? According to Cisneros, we all have our own home with which we identify; however, we cannot always go back to the environment we once considered our dwelling place. The home, which is characterized by who we are, and determined by how we view ourselves, is what makes every individual unique. A home is a personality, a depiction of who we are inside and how we grow through our life experiences. Mamacita is an example of this.
She sits home all day and reminisces, “she sings all the homesick songs about her country”, “home, home, home is a house on a photograph, a pink house”. Her husbands even goes and paints the walls of their apartment pink to ease her homesick a little but “it’s not the same you know”. “She stiils sighs for her pink house in mexico”. Or in “Geraldo no last name” a guy that no one knows. He died but no one cared because he was “just another brazer who didn’t speak english, just another wet back”. This is how alot of people think about immigrants in america. They are not good, they only come to steal real americans jobs”.
People don’t understands that most latinos have family back home that they support with the little bit of money they make. “His name is geraldo, and his home is in another country, the one’s he left behind are far away will wonder, shrugh, remember, geraldo he went north and we never heard from him again”. Latino immigrants come here because this is “the land of opportnity”. Opportunities that alot of times their countries dont offer. This is why they try to make america there home as well. Something that sometimes is impossible but they have to do to live a better life.
The american dream is what my parents came to this country to achieve. As latino immigrants they went through all these stuggles. The language barrier, the homesickness, and all the hardships that comes with coming to america. I still hear the stories about them living in a tiny basement apartment when they came here, and how they hardly had money to eat, how they did all these sacrifices to make my life better. For my parents the american dream was to offer their kids a better life than they had. To make it easier for me to get an education. Something that I could not do in my country.
This was their american dream. Something that I am proud to say they achieved. Although mango street does show all the stuggles that latinos go through it also shows something else, esperanza, meaning hope in spanish. Hope is what many people hold on to when they come to america. Hope that they will live better lives, hope that someday they will own their own home, hope that their children will get the education they deserve. Hope, something that esperanza has and is going to utilize it and her writing gifts to make her american dream come true.