Lit and Place Response #1 “The House on Mango Street”

Time may diminish our child like sense of wonderment, but our subjective knowledge of past events undyingly remains within our subconscious. Memory, a notion that far surpasses biological teachings, shapes our well being, as well as adjusts our sensitivity towards the world.  “Biology conditions our perceptual world.” (Space and Place, 20) Yi-Fu Tuan masterfully discusses “memories” from the perspective of an adolescent child, in his literary work, Space and Place. Tuan’s honest effort, regards the eager development of a child, beginning with the exceedingly vital stages of infancy.

Tuan asks several significant questions, “What is the feeling tone of the child’s world? What is the nature of his attachments to people and to places?” (Space and Place. 19) Most importantly, Tuan asks, “How does a young child perceive and understand his environment?” (Space and Place. 19) This meticulous inquiry significantly correlates with Sandra Cisneros’s, The House on Mango Street. In her short narrative account, a young adolescent, similar to Tuan’s primary focus, struggles to find a “substantial” perceptive focal point. At least from the reader’s perspective, the child in Cisneros’s story does not have an appropriate gauge on the immense disposition of the World.

The child in The House on Mango Street perceives the World as a rather diminutive “place”. She states, “That’s why Mama and Papa looked for a house, and that’s why we moved into the house on Mango Street, far away, on the other side of town.”(An Introduction to Fiction. 518) “Far Away”? An intellectually developed individual should recognize that “the other side of town,” is in actuality, not so distant. A child’s sense of Space substantially varies from that of an adult. This excerpt from The House on Mango Street stems back to Tuan’s writings regarding a child’s relationship, rather, knowledge of space. A child has not been properly familiarized with a rational position towards “space” as a means of distance. Their pubescent naivety limits their understanding of “place” and “space.”

“Space,” in relation to The House on Mango Street, refers to the child’s tendency to move from “place” to “place”. While “Space” refers to the distance, the “place” refers to her various homes. In the child’s mind, home is just another “place.” Mango Street may have been imagined to be a lavish paradise, but to the child, the “space” between her homes would pose as the root of her predicament. Tuan states that the knowledge of a child is limited. Concepts that would be considered obvious to the naked eye do not apply to the infantile personality of a child. Ideas such as “Space” and “Place” would unquestionably fall under that explicit category.

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1 Comment so far

  1.   good point on March 27th, 2014

    If it’s appropriate, incorporate a line or two about your choice of subject matter. You have to be 100% confident that the article is free of any grammar or spelling errors.

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