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“Neighborhood of roofs” Cisneros is cagy about the location of the house, keeping it vague.
An older boy named Sire is watching her as he rides his bike past her, and they exchange glances: I looked because I wanted to be brave, straight into the dusty cat fur of his eyes and the bike stopped and he bumped into a parked car, bumped, and I walked fast. Yet, the transition from child to adult is painful and harrowing for Esperanza. But, she is told by family and friends, she can never fully leave.
It made your blood freeze to have somebody look at you like that. At the photo finishing store, an Asian co-worker grabs her face and gives her an unwanted kiss on the lips. And, so it is, at the end of the novel that Esperanza is picturing the future. She knows she will find her way in the outer world. But she will remain who she is, even as her friends and family wonder about her life away from them.
The neighborhood she lives in represents every Chicago neighborhood.
It is, Esperanza says, a “neighborhood of roofs, black-tarred and A-framed and in their gutters, the balls that never came back down to earth.” Any child who grew up in Chicago lived in that neighborhood.
At the same time, the book’s strength as literature is that it tells the story of a unique girl in a unique place — a Mexican-American girl in the neighborhoods of Chicago whose life is focused not only on the changes in her body but also on her need to figure out how to maneuver in the broader world. [They’ll] move a little farther north from Mango Street, a little farther away every time people like us keep moving in. Before that we lived on Loomis on the third floor, and before that we lived on Keeler.
Esperanza lives in a community that is made up of newly arrived immigrants from Mexico and first-generation Americans, but also includes black and white people from such places as Texas, Kentucky, Tennessee and Puerto Rico. Before Keeler it was Paulina, and before that I can’t remember. Esperanza’s age is never given, but, from the text, it appears she’s about 12 or 13 at the start of the novel which covers the family’s first year in their house.Her father will have to go back home for the burial and will bring back a black-and-white photograph of the tomb.Meanwhile, Esperanza as the eldest will tell her brothers and sister the news and explain to them the need to be quiet and respectful.On the weekends, Marin goes to dances all over the city, including the Aragon Ballroom, the Uptown Theater and the Embassy Ballroom, and it’s at one of those dances that she meets Geraldo, a guy in a shiny shirt and green pants who works at a restaurant. The ones who always look ashamed.” There is no one to be found to take his body. His is the story of generations of single immigrant men who have come to the United States and have tried to navigate a foreign culture.They dance together, and, then, he goes outside and — like that! Marin is the last person to see him alive, and she is shaken by his death although, as she tells anyone who asks, he wasn’t anyone to her, really — “Just another who didn’t speak English. In one of the most poignant passages in “Shakity-shake” For more than a century, Chicago has trumpeted itself as a city of neighborhoods.Mallard is the victim of her torturing husband, whereas in the other story the lead character is the victim of poverty and the so-called hypocritical values of the society and class discrimination.Both the lead characters, which seem to be weak initially emerge as strong characters towards the end of the stories. This is the story of Esperanza Cordero, and, at its heart, it is the story of every child who has gone through the very difficult transformation into becoming a teenager with all its excitement, fear, challenge and risk.No wonder it’s read in so many high school classes. Then as if she forgot I just moved in, she says the neighborhood is getting bad….It’s tempting to imagine that Cisneros was thinking about the area of Chicago where her family bought its first house — at 1525 N. (Over the last quarter century, of course, it has been heavily gentrified.) The novel’s setting also seems to fit the Brighton Park neighborhood which is just south of the overwhelmingly Mexican community of Little Village.During the 1980s, the Latino population in Brighton Park more than doubled — rising from 15 percent in 1980 to 37 percent in 1990.