Kaivan’s Outline

I plan to do a digital project on the importance of and references to nature in the House on Mango Street. This is a working concept but I plan to point out the treatment of nature of pure, positive, and an escape/refuge from the ills of urban/sub-urban life.

1. Trees

-Four Skinny Trees

-“Our house would be white with trees around it, a great big yard and grass growing without a fence.”
(The House on Mango Street)

2. Wind

– “Nothing wakes the but the wind” (Bums in the Attic)

– “They came with the wind that blows in August” (The Three Sisters)

3. The Sky

-“Ruthie looked at the sky and her eyes got watery at times. ” (Edna’s Ruthie)

-“And if you opened the little window latch and gave it a shove, the windows would swing open, all the sky would come in.” (Sally)

-“Then the colors began to whirl. Sky tipped. Their high black gym shoes ran. ” (Red Clowns)


Kaivan —

A wonderful topic; I can’t wait to see how digitization or visualization would extend and complicate your argument.  Trees and wind and the sky are crucial to The House on Mango Street, but they are not pure or pristine, nature in the wild, but rather “nature” shaped and deformed by their urban setting.  Of the four skinny trees, Cisneros writes: “They send ferocious roots beneath the ground. They grow up and they grow down and grab the earth between their hairy toes and bite the sky with violent teeth and never quit their anger. This is how they keep.”  These trees are survivors, bearing signs of their hostile environment and the fierce struggle they have lived through.  I look forward to more discussion of the way man-made realities permeate nature in Cisneros.  To give the essay greater scope, it would be good also to consider nature in Sandburg’s Chicago Poems.  A comparison of these two authors would shed light on each.

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