::OUR CULTURE ::
Excerpts from, "The House on Mango Street" - Sandra Cisneros

Hispanic culture is evident in these two excerpts and can cross over to all ethnicities. The simplicity of the way the dialog is written is meant to be from a child's mind but I see metaphors everywhere. Enjoy.

Comfort... "Hairs" - Everyone in our family has different hair. My Papa's hair is like a broom, all up in the air. And me, my hair is lazy. It never obeys barrettes or bands. Carlos' hair is thick and straight. He doesn't need to comb it. Nenny's hair is slippery-slides out of your hand. And Kiki, who is the youngest has hair like fur.

But my mother's hair, my mother's hair, like little rosettes, like little candy circles all curly and pretty because she pinned them in pincurls all day, sweet to put your nose into when she is holding, holding you and you feel safe, is the warm smell of bread before you bake it, is the smell when she makes room for you on her side of the bed still warm with her skin, and you sleep near her, the rain outside falling and Papa sleeping. The snoring, the rain,m and Mama's hair the smells like bread.

Individuality... "My Name" - In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like te number nine. A muddy color. It is the mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing.

It was my great-grandmother's name and now it is mine. She was a horse woman too, born like me in the Chinese year of the horse-which is supposed to be bad luck if you're born female-but I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans, don't like their women strong.

My great-grandmother. I would've liked to have known her, a wild horse of a woman, so wild she wouldn't marry. Until my great-grandfather threw a sack over her head and carried her off. Just like that, as if she were a fancy chandelier. That's the way he did it.

And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couln't be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window.

At school they say my name funny as if the syllables were made out of tin and hurt the roof of your mouth. But in Spanish my name is made out of a softer something, like silver, not quick as thick as my sister's name-Magdalena-which is uglier than mine. Magdalena who at least can come home and become Nenny. But I am always Esperanza.


Cilla...