These Books Made Me

The House on Mango Street

March 10, 2022 Prince George's County Memorial Library System Season 2 Episode 2
These Books Made Me
The House on Mango Street
Show Notes Transcript

We're spending time with Esperanza Cordero, her family, friends, and neighbors from 1984's groundbreaking novel, The House on Mango Street. This paragon of the Chicano/a literary canon challenges us to define it - is it a novel, a novella, an epic poem - and has itself been the subject of frequent challenges for its unflinching look at the lives and loves of its characters. We discuss scary nuns, high heels, uncles who just want to dance (or uncles who don't want Hawa to dance), and the hardships and joys of womanhood as we explore this classic work by Sandra Cisneros. We also chat with Professor Randy Ontiveros about the importance of the book to Chicano/a literature.

These Books Made Me is a podcast about the literary heroines who shaped us and is a product of the Prince George's County Memorial Library System podcast network. Stay in touch with us via Twitter @PGCMLS with #TheseBooksMadeMe or by email at TheseBooksMadeMe@pgcmls.info. For recommended readalikes and deep dives into topics related to each episode, visit our blog at https://pgcmls.medium.com/.

We mentioned a lot of topics in this episode. Here’s a brief list of some informative articles about some of them if you want to do your own further research:

The Chicano Literary Movement:
https://www.tshaonline.org/handbook/entries/chicano-literary-renaissance

Intersectional Feminism:
https://www.unwomen.org/en/news/stories/2020/6/explainer-intersectional-feminism-what-it-means-and-why-it-matters

Speaker 1:

Just a quick programming note. Before we dive in this book contains some mature topics, including depictions of sexual assault, which we will be discussing. This episode is rated T for teen.

Hannah:

Hi, I'm Hannah.

Hawa:

I'm Hawa.

Heather:

I'm Heather.

Hannah:

And this is our podcast, These Books Made Me. Today we're going to be talking about The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Friendly warning as always, this podcast does contain spoilers. If you don't yet know what $5 can get, you continue at your own risk. We have here with us today, a returning guest and co-author of the blog of accompanies this podcast. Welcome Ella.

Ella:

Hi, my name is Ella. I work at the Laurel branch and as Hannah mentioned, I do co-author the blog that goes along with this podcast.

Hannah:

I thought I'd start us out by , um, just going around, we can ask, what did this book mean to you? Was this everyone's first time reading, if not, how did this reread compare to your memories of reading it when you were younger?

Hawa:

So this was my first time reading the book. Um, I was telling them earlier, this is a book I've always wanted to read. Um, I bought it for my library. My older sister stole it from me. Um, so I had to get a new copy for this episode, but I'm glad I was able to get a new copy and to dive in,

Heather:

This not is my first time reading the book. Um, this book was actually required reading for me in high school and I loved it the first time I read it. I've read it a couple of times since, and I was happy to revisit it for this episode.

Ella:

So this is actually my one of my favorite books from childhood. Um, so I read it and have reread it multiple, multiple times. It's one of the few books that I actually keep a physical copy of at all times at my house. And somehow reading it as an adult was even better than reading it as a child. Um, but I do feel like every time I've read it, it has been a different experience.

Hannah:

So I somehow did not read this as a child. I'm surprised cuz my mother was constantly handing us books to kind of fit into this modern classic or older classic theme, but I somehow did not read it. So it was fun to read as an adult. I think it was really beautiful and uh , creative use of language.

Hawa:

All right , so now I'm gonna give you a little bit of a plot summary. Esperanza Cordero is a 12 year old girl on the brink of young womanhood. She lives in a rundown building in a predominantly Hispanic neighborhood in Chicago. The book chronicles Esperanza's coming of age and observations of her family, neighbors and neighborhood in a series of vignette and poetic prose. Esperanza struggles with her changing body and feelings and tries to process the hardship she experiences and observes from domestic violence to sexual assault. Ultimately the novel ends with Esperanza fully invested in her dream to leave the neighborhood and become a writer with her--- a home of her own.

Heather:

And I've got a little information about the author. I will say that , um, I have always thought of Cisneros as being a San Antonio author. Um, I'm from Texas and I've always heard of her as such. She used to teach at a college in San Antonio and she's, you know, I think thought of as a person that San Antonio's proud of and she's not actually from San Antonio. So , um, I did learn that about her. Much like the main character in The House o n Mango Street, Sandra Cisneros grew up in Chicago in a large Mexican American family. She was t he only girl out of seven siblings. And so she often felt that she was the odd one out. She spent much of her childhood moving between Mexico and the United States and her longing for home can be clearly seen in Esperanza's story. Cisneros bucked convention and her father's wishes by becoming an author. As she says in My Wicked Wicked Ways, which is a volume of poetry, she wrote "an absurd vice, this wicked wanton writer's life. I chucked the life my father plucked for me." She attended Loyola University before moving on to the famous writer's workshop at Iowa for her MFA, primarily a poet Cisneros experimented with prose and long form poetry in the form of vignettes in her books, The House on Mango Street and Woman Hollering Creek. Cisneros focuses her work on the Chicana experience and often centers, themes of gender roles and feminism in her writing. Her work is often strongly biographical in nature, particularly her poetry. She has received numerous awards and The House on Mango Street continues to serve as a rare example of a work by a Latina author that is frequently on required reading lists.

Hawa:

All right , so let's get into the discussion. First off, how do y'all think this book held up? Given this was written in the 1984, I believe

Heather:

Before we started recording, somebody asked, you know, what time period is this set in ? And so I, I think it's actually a really good question because there's not a lot in the book that dates it in any way. Part of that I think is just a function of her writing style, which is very poetic and it's very observational, but I think that sort of lack of a grounding in a specific time period actually helps the book hold up really well. There's nothing that you read where it feels dated or there's references that you really don't understand. You know, there's not a lot of pop culture. And here, the only thing that really seemed like vaguely problematic to me was during the vignette about when she goes to work at the photo processing shop, there's a coworker that's referred to as an Oriental man. And he's real skeevy, you know, she's a little kid at the time and he's clearly like trying to come onto her. Um, so there was sort of the, I guess we wouldn't say Oriental today as a descriptor for somebody, but even with that, I, I think that because it is so observational in the writing style, it doesn't come across as pointed or anything that ,

Hannah:

I mean, so much of it seemed to be kind of the emotional experience of growing up. So when that's mostly separate from the things that might place it in time , um, that's gonna , you know, that's gonna ring true cuz humans don't change that much even if the structures around them in time and technology do.

Ella:

I definitely agree. I, I think like, you know, you said there isn't a lot to date it and the stuff that was potentially problematic, I know we're gonna talk a lot about gender roles and things like that. Those were one, authentic for the experience and continue to be authentic as those same experiences keep happening. But as far as like external observations, there weren't a ton that were, that really stood out.

Hawa:

To me, there was just one and , uh, it was the use of a slur that I'm obviously not gonna repeat cuz it's a slur slur for the Inuit people. So I mean, I think when you take into consideration when this book was written, then not to excuse it, but it's something that like, it doesn't take away from, I think the experience of the book as a whole.

Heather:

Yeah. And for context, this happens when they're talking about how many words there are for snow.

Ella:

That's actually a really good catch.

Heather:

Yeah. I think like Ella was saying, obviously there's a of problematic behavior in the book, but that's kind of the point, right? I mean, that is what we're dissecting through Esperanza's eyes. She is observing the world around her and you know, she feels kind of stifled by all of these gender expectations and the patriarchy in general. I mean, everywhere she looks, she's seeing women being oppressed on some level. To me that is not something that makes the book problematic. Like that is the point of the book and it takes a hard look at those things and I think it opens up good discussion, but I know that has been , um, a big part of why the book has been banned or challenged in places is that people object to , to , um, some of the depictions of domestic violence in the book, they object to the depiction of the sexual assault. They object to some of the sexuality in general. Um, that's presented in the book. So I don't know, Hannah, you were looking at some of the objections to the text on Common Sense Media. Was that sort of overall what you were getting from the people that weren't fans?

Hannah:

Yeah. Uh, there was, I mean there were a number of reviews and some were, you know, "this is a wonderful, realistic , um , book", but a lot of them were parents going, "the sexual content in here was entirely inappropriate for my child", "don't read" like a lot of, you know, just sort of knee-jerk reaction to that being present in the text. And that seems to be what was causing , uh , majority of the people in those reviews to be upset.

Heather:

Well, I guess maybe that's worth asking too, is what age do you all think this book is for?

Hannah:

Ooh , that's a good question.

Ella:

I think there are a lot of delicate topics in this book. I will say that I read it as a younger middle school child and then reread it as a teen, and then now reading it as an adult and there were some parts of it that were definitely over my head when I read it when I was very young, but all of the experiences that she has with older girls where they are on the other side of puberty or experiences and she hasn't had those experiences yet, those definitely rang very true to me as a really young girl who didn't really understand the other side, so to speak. Um, so those parts felt really meaningful when I read them when I was younger.

Hawa:

Thank you for sharing that cuz I, I, I absolutely agree. Um, and I think that also parents may be , uh , a bit unreal. I mean, of course parents can have their kids read what they want to read, but to go as far as to try to get it banned, I think it's very unrealistic of what kids are experiencing around them, that they don't even realize that kids are experiencing. Um, and honestly I think that a lot of this would probably go over the heads of some of the kids who may have read it if they are like, I mean, I get that it's a required reading, but if they're not navigating it with some kind of like guidance or like someone who maybe knows a bit more, they may not even catch half the stuff the parents are worried about.

Heather:

Yeah. I think we have it in the teen section here. Obviously Esperanza's 12, so we kind of think of this like , "well the main character is a child, so it's children's literature". But I feel with this one much, like I felt with Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry and with A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, all three of these books are as good as adult literature as they are as children's literature. Like nothing other than the age of the protagonist to me really gives any sense of like where it should be classified particularly. Yeah. I read it in high school and I, I think I had no real illusions about what was going on with some of the tough stuff in the book, but it is interesting that you brought that up Ella because you know , if you were a younger reader, for example, the scene at the carnival, which I think is a rape scene, at least that's my interpretation of what happened in that , uh, incident for Espanza Sally and the one boy go off to make out in an alley or behind a tent or something. And one of the other older boys ends up assaulting Espanza and she's, you know, quite traumatized by it. But that being said, it's not explicit. Like it it's implied. You get sort of that she's fighting against him and that she doesn't like him touching her. And she says, you know, "Sally, this is what you said it was going to be like", but there's nothing really explicit about that scene that a child didn't have a concept of that would, you know, now hold something that they couldn't handle.

Ella:

And, and I think that's a really good point. And I, I know when I read that as a child, I had that didn't register, I had no concept of what was happening. And even as a teen and older, you know, it is such a scene, that it isn't written specifically what happens so I think that's one of those scenes where you can kind of defer like something bad happens, but you're not sure what it is. Um, so I definitely agree with you or, you know, a younger reader who's reading that may not even really understand what's happening. Um , because as an adult, I'm the same way where like, I'm not really sure what actually happens.

Hannah:

They might not fill it in if they don't have enough life experience to know what to fill it in. So that might cushion it from someone who's not ready to, to read that scene

Ella:

With that scene and with a lot of others, the way that the book is certain really helps as well. Um, because speaking about that scene , uh , specifically it is very internal and her thoughts, and I feel like a lot of language around the book is very flowy in a way that kind of smooths out a lot of the events that are happening.

Heather:

Well and a lot of it is very poetic and it's figurative, like even just her observations of other people. There's the chapter with the family, where the mother has a bunch of kids, the husband has run out, so she has a hard time managing this gaggle of kids. Esperanza talks about how well everyone just kind of stops paying attention to 'em after a while, because you can basically only parent these unparented kids for so long before you get sick of it and say like, oh , they're just gonna do what they're going to do. But they end that vignette with the one child flies and it's seemed to me like that child is not with us anymore, but that wasn't explicit.

Hannah:

Right? Like, did she fall off a roof or something? I was not clear what.

Ella:

The passage said something very beautifully poetic.

Heather:

Here, I've got it. So she ends this vignette, which is the one that was called "There Was an Old Woman She Had So Many Children She Didn't Know What to Do." The final paragraph says, "no wonder everybody gave up, just looking out when little Efren chipped his buck tooth on a parking meter and didn't even stop Refugia from getting her head stuck between two slats in the back gate and nobody looked up not once the day Angel Vargas learned to fly and drop from the sky, like a sugar donut , just like a falling star and exploded down to earth without even an 'Oh'", which to me sounds very final, but it doesn't say "kid jumped off the roof and died". Yeah. You know, so I think there's like room for the brain to process what the brain can process.

Ella:

Yeah. And I know before we started recording, we were talking about a plot summary and you know, the events that happen in the book are 1) so figurative, a lot of the times and 2) are happening at the same place, but in different places, like it is kind of, you get as much as you are able to out of the book instead of having something kind of given to you.

Hawa:

Yeah. I, I agree. I think I was trying to think of how to best describe her as a character, just in , you know, just cause I knew we'd probably be talking about that. And I think you don't don't really see a lot of just her own interactions, but you see how she sees everything else. And I think how she perceives things is really how you get to know about who she is. So you kind of know about her through what she sees other people do.

Heather:

Yeah. She's very inward um, I don't know Hannah was on the "Tree Grows in Brooklyn" episode. To me, there are so many parallels between Esperanza and Francie. Um, in , in many ways the books are very similar while also being like polar opposites. You know, this is kind of timeless because there's nothing in there to date. Whereas Tree Grows in Brooklyn is hyper specific to time. And it's just littered with these very specific things. But like the core is very similar to me. Like it it's around this girl that has dreams and wants better for herself. And you know, is feeling kind of stifled by societal expectations and her, the culture around her and what they say she should do what others should do. But the women, even the ones in bad situations here are strong in their own ways. I don't, I don't read this and feel like it's an indictment of the women.

Hannah:

I definitely thought of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn a lot while reading this. So I'm, I'm glad you had a similar experience. I think that's a really good point about, about the women and you see like the women speaking to Esperanza like, like her mom or then those aunts that she saw once and never saw again, who like told her to

Hawa:

Make sure she comes back.

Hannah:

Yeah. Yeah. And then there was her , um, she had that family member who died, who was ill, who like listened to her who yeah .

Heather:

Her aunt

Hannah:

listened to her writing and encouraged her. Like you , you could, you know, you saw them , uh , you , you , that came through, even though it was from Esperanza's point of view, saw these adults trying to kind of support and encourage and do the best they can. Yeah.

Hawa:

There's one part that stands out to me. It's the, the vignette, A Smart Cookie where she's talking to her mother and her mom's basically like, do you wanna know why I quit school? Because I didn't have sh "shame is a bad thing. You know, it keeps you down. You wanna know why I quit school? Because I didn't have nice clothes, no clothes, but I had brains. I didn't have the clothes, but I was smart." And I d on't want you t o, I don't want you to be like me, like she's encouraging her to l ike move forward. So I thought that was t hat s poke to that.

Ella:

Well, I do think there's definitely like a funneling of the idea of womanhood in this book that's not quite what the women actually are. Um, so I know there's, there's a passage about a cruel and beautiful woman and they, you know, there's the scene with the high heels that the girls get. Um, they talk a lot about Sally and I believe her lipstick. And so there is this idea that, you know, beautiful women are dangerous and that's kind of the only way to get out. But then there're also all these stories about, you know, education and things like that. So I think that kind of comparison is really interesting.

Heather:

Yeah. I mean, I think there's that idea that that's a way out, but even those women are shown as , as trapped in some way too, because okay Sally escapes, her dad and the belt to be married to a man that has to be a ton older than her, cuz she's essentially Esperanza's age at the time cuz s he said they went out of state where you could get married to an eighth grader

Hannah:

That made my jaw drop to think about how young she was.

Heather:

But so she gets out of this like very abusive situation into a, maybe marginally, less physically violent situation, but she's locked in the house all day because the husband is afraid that she'll get up to no good if she's out of the house. Minerva's in the same situation where she's locked in the home all day. The woman with the tiny feet and she gets out and she's like, got all these hats and things and she's, you know, dressed really well to be shut up in the house, you know, sort of for keeps too , because she's being, you know, basically constrained by not knowing the language and by her husband's expectations. And, and then I think the contrast is then to Alicia , who is the one that's studying in college . Right . But then the neighborhood kind of is like, well, she's a snob now. Like, so there's also this sort of this negative view that they have of her. But I think that's the person that Espanza latches onto as like Alicia got out.

Hawa:

I was thinking back to the scene [with] the high heels and at first I didn't realize that the shoes that they were, that they were given were high heels until like they start like walking around [with] the shoes and everyone's like, "why do you have on those shoes?" The one guy in the store says, "I'm gonna call the cops" and I'm just like "call the cops cuz they got on heels?" I mean, I get , you think they're being grown, but I don't know about all that. And then like the one guy on this side of the street, the , the , the bum says something to them. And, but yeah, I say all that to say, I guess like by the end of that, vignette they basically were just like the , they, they threw the shoes like in the bush or something, cuz I guess they didn't want that kind of attention that high heels brought them. And I guess that wo like womanhood, I guess, brought them and then like when the mom threw them away, well, first I thought it was interesting that the mom threw them away. Um, but they also were just like, yeah, we don't even care. Like they weren't upset about it. And they were so excited about the shoes in the beginning, but I think it speaks to like how innocent they were. Like, they were just like, oh, these are shoes. Like , it shouldn't be a big deal. I think I like cute in them. Also. I thought it was interesting that uh, they were able to run in heels.

Everyone:

* laughter*

Hawa:

I'm sorry, but

Ella:

There's definitely a back and forth between being a woman and being a child. Um , so the shoes, definitely like, oh, we really like how our legs look. Just kidding. A lot of people are giving us attention, we don't want that anymore. U m, there's also when they're doing the jump rope with the song about hips where they're like, we really want hips. Just kidding. That's kind of like, I don't want that. I think there's another one about the monkey house.

Hawa:

Yeah.

Ella:

Um , where there's the kids playing on the car and then there's someone potentially making out with someone else.

Hawa:

Sally Mmmhmm.

Speaker 5:

It's always Sally. So like kind of this, well, it's really interesting and intriguing and fascinating, but also it's very terrifying and I feel like that's, explored a few different times

Speaker 3:

Thinking about myself as a 12 year old. Um, honestly it kind of really does make sense . Especially as somebody who me personally, I apparently looked older than I was. So there were times where like, you know, I would, when I would go shopping for clothes, like I would go shopping for clothes where like teenagers would go shopping for clothes where like, oh , go shopping for clothes. Cuz like that's the stuff that fit me. But you know, I was still young wanting to play with my friends, but I also found myself getting unwanted attention once I was growing into myself. And it was, it was very strange. Like I remember being cat called at like 10 or 11 being out with my older sisters. And I'm just with my older sister and I was like, this is very strange. And I was like, I don't like this.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It starts like, I don't know. I , we could probably all swap similar experiences, but yeah, like it , it seems to like start like around 10 or shortly after, which is, this is very

Speaker 4:

Messed up. And she's 12 where you do want boys to look at you and you, you do want grown up things and you wanna be grown, but then you're not so sure about it anymore because it has consequences. Right? So she's seen in consequences to all of these things for other people.

Speaker 5:

There's that scene where she's talking about someone and a boy who's sitting outside of his house and his girlfriend and how she wants to walk by him and not be afraid, but does look at him and then thinks, I think about what being his girlfriend would be like. But then like the idea of being someone girlfriend is really, you know, exciting. But then like what does that actually mean?

Speaker 4:

She also had the part where she says that, you know, being held really tight by a boy, but that was just in her dream. Then her real life experience, which is at the carnival is nothing like that at all. Right. It's, it's violent and it's scary and it's not what she he had wanted. And I think that's very true to how adolescence is. You know, you have a foot in both worlds of being a child and wanting to play with your friends and do jump rope games and just be a kid and things are simpler that way. And you have, I'm growing up and I have these feelings and I have hormone and I have all of these new cultural expectations of me and what being a woman means. And now I start to look like a woman and people are reacting to me as though I am a woman instead of a little girl. And like how that changes you and how you navigate that. And I think this book has really done a really good job of portraying that in a way that at least to me resonated is like very true to how it felt to be that age.

Speaker 3:

Especially considering like she's the oldest of her siblings. So like it's not like she had an older sister to be like, you know, this is what's happening to you. She's just kind of like experiencing it as it goes along. And it doesn't really get into how much her and her mom talk about these kind of things. But I kind of imagine that it's not true to what she's experiencing

Speaker 5:

And I don't know about your own childhood experiences, but I do feel like it's very accurate to, you know, your mom tells you, you know, put your shoes away and stuff and it's the neighbors or your friends that are like, so this is what kissing is like. So you know, all this , um, all the interaction she has with other people that are kind of her , like this is what it's like, like that felt very true. Um, and especially when you don't have anything to compare it to, you're like, sure, yeah, that sounds like maybe it makes sense.

Speaker 3:

I was nine and a half when I found out what a period was. And I found out from one of my friends and I was like, I didn't believe it was true. I was like, mom, dad, this is a real thing. Like I literally my mom and dad

Speaker 5:

Terrible. I was

Speaker 7:

Like, please tell me this isn't true .

Speaker 3:

This is real. And they were like , uh , who told you this? I was like, my friend, Julie , like she said, I can have babies now and da , da , da , da . And they were like, what? So like crazy enough, I started my period like a couple weeks later. And um, I didn't tell anybody. I was just like, I was like, is this something that I have to be embarrassed about? Is this something that they're gonna make like a big deal about like something that I didn't want? And my mom could tell eventually from like my clothes and stuff. Cause I guess I wasn't cleaning everything. Well, she just called my older sister and was like, yeah, help her figure this out. Like, and then it just kind of scooted me away. So parents are worried about the kind of things that their kids are learning through things like school where it like, like in books and stuff, at least if this is something that's being talked about in the classroom, they have an adult figure to kind of guide them through this where it's just like with other things that they're learning from their friends.

Speaker 5:

When I was younger, I was the oldest and am still the oldest that doesn't change it . Um , but urban dictionary got me through middle and school because I, you know, my household was pretty strict. I didn't really have access to any. And so when my friends and peers at school would talk about things, like I had no idea what they were talking about. Um, and not just sexual things, but just like terms in general that were any type of flying . So I would go home and urban dictionary things. Not because I was like a deviant and wanted to like read about them. But because like, I didn't understand what people were saying to me. And so like, if you don't have someone that's older, that's kind of explaining it to you. Like, what do you do? Right. You know, especially in the book when it's potentially the seventies, like what do you do? You can't urban dictionary. It ,

Speaker 4:

Yeah. You would rely on someone's older sister or your cousin. And, and that's what you see with Espan is like she's getting information from Madine . She's getting well, a lot of information from Sally that probably isn't who you would want is your source on things. Cuz man, Sally's living a dangerous life at this point. And if your family's not gonna tell you, you're gonna be getting it from, or you're gonna be getting it from your friend who's fast. Right. Which is exactly who your parents would say, like, don't hang out with that person. Like you shouldn't be

Speaker 3:

Right. No. That's why when they had on the heels , they was probably thinking, mm fast. And I'm just like ,

Speaker 2:

I mean like so many, so many kids put on heels and walk around in them . Like it , like , I feel like that's a normal thing that pretty much everyone does. Like, just like, Hey , Hey , let's , they're too big for me, but I'm gonna try, 'em walk around and feel like a, you know, baby bird who can't can't stand straight. Like that

Speaker 4:

Seems , but they wore them out. Like I think that's the difference. There's no way my mom would've let me like wear heels out. If I was 10, like Nu was or however old she would've been like, no.

Speaker 3:

And then they fit perfectly. So there wasn't this like illusion of like, or an idea that, oh, these are too big for me. I'm just playing dress up . This was like, no, this is part of my wardrobe. This is who I ,

Speaker 4:

I am . Cause then like, what are the neighbors gonna think of your family? Because you let your girls go out and heals, which is like, oh, they're fast. Right? Like it's this sort of sexualization attached to the idea of heels

Speaker 5:

I was gonna say. And I , they do have a concept of it because they talk about their legs. Yep . Yeah . And how their legs look in the heels. So like they understand that there is that connection going on.

Speaker 4:

Shoes come up a lot in this book . Like I feel like thunders has like a lot of like feeling is about shoes because in the scene at the baptism where she dances with her to like so fixated on her bad shoes that it's just like really like killing her event for her. Why can't do anything cuz my shoes. And then there's the heels. And then there's the family with the little feet, the lady getting outta the car, like there's a lot of attention to

Speaker 5:

Footwear,

Speaker 3:

Two points I wanted to , to make one , um, the , the , part of the baptism where her uncle makes her get up and dance with her. That, that stood out to me just because , um, it reminded me of the exact opposite happening to me. It was my 10th birthday party and I just knew I was so cute and I was getting up. I was dancing and my uncle said something to me like girl, you can dance . What are you doing ? Oh . And I'm just like, even now I'm just like, yeah, I'm not really much of a dancer. Like I don't like to go out in public and dance. So like I thought that scene was really cute. How her uncle was just like, come on, get up here, girl, you, you the most beautiful thing in the room. Like

Speaker 5:

I was just gonna say at the same time that I was reading this book, I was reading a lot of um, books by Francesca Leah block . And she writes very similarly as far as descriptions and things like that. And there's not like a lot happening as far as like plot, but there's just like a lot of introspection. Um, and I think that kind of paved the way for me to be interested in magical realism mm . Where things aren't like quite how they're described. So I think that I recently had a softer landing into this. Um, whereas I think if you were reading other books that were very, you know, this happened and this happened and this happened, this would be very confusing because nothing like really happens.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. And I think that that's a really great point, but like this to me fits very much in with Latin in literature in general where magical realism is, you know, very important. Just stylistically. Yeah. I totally agree. Ella . I think that, that it's very present in this book. I think it's very present in a lot of the Chicano literature though, that being said, I, I, I do think you, the other authors that I read, you know, contemporaneous to this book when I was like in high school, they were all men, you know, I'm thinking about like the other Latin authors I read and it was all men except for CI scenarios, I think , um, in terms of pros anyways, no poetry, maybe not as much, but it's kind of an interesting to see her break into that genre kind of keeping a lot of the things that are common to that genre, but like writing such a very strong, I mean, this is a very feminist book. I think like it is a, it is definitely written by a woman. Like I don't think anyone would read this and think a man wrote it.

Speaker 5:

Yes. There is something very fluid about the way it's written, even if it was written in more kind of structured way, there is something about the language and the way that it's presented that feels very soft for lack of a better way to kind of describe it.

Speaker 3:

Um, one question that I had for y'all is , um, did it bother y'all that there were no quotation marks I've read books like this before, so I'm used to it, but like it , there were parts where it was like hard for me to follow, but I just have to reread, but like I'm used to it, but like

Speaker 4:

I will be honest. It didn't even register to me. Me

Speaker 2:

Neither. I'm like ,

Speaker 4:

Until you just said that and I was like , oh , I guess there weren't

Speaker 3:

Think that she, she mentions it in her introduction. Like I guess like as to why she , um, made that decision or just like that or that she made that decision. But I don't think that if I hadn't read that in the introduction, I don't think I would've noticed either to be honest,

Speaker 5:

I think because the book is so structured as something that's happening internally and the lines are so blurred anyway, it didn't seem as startling. And I also think that the book is very rich, but I wouldn't say it's very dense. And I think that helped too, that there wasn't a lot of like action to follow. Cause that's another book that very famously does not have quotes.

Speaker 4:

Um , well, normal people, right? That's the one that I can think of recently and that it was, I got used to it , but it was a distraction to me early in the book, this feels a lot more effortless and less like an affectation to me. But I will say this book reads as poetry to me. It does not read as pros. It reads as long form poetry. Like my experience of reading. This is much more akin to reading poems than it is to reading a novel

Speaker 2:

Normal people. The Sally RO .

Speaker 4:

Yeah .

Speaker 2:

Yeah. I re I re read that and I'm remembering now that the dialogue was like this, but maybe not working as well for that format, like you said,

Speaker 4:

And I got used to it like, no, no hate towards that book. I thought I was well done , but I just remember like early on like being very aware of it. Um , I wanna talk a little bit about , um, culture and how it's represented in the book, because I know when we were reading ho we kept wishing that there was more and we get a lot of , uh , Mexican culture in this book. It's just interwoven throughout, you know , the, the depiction of Catholicism in the book. The there's so much there, even though the book is so spare and there's not a lot given to it, the issues around the school. So you have this family that is, you know, poor. Well , all of the families in the neighborhood are poor and yet they're finding a way to make sure that their kids can go to the Catholic school and then, well , why are they doing that? Is it because they're super religious? Not really even , um, there's the line where she says something like, if you go to the public school, you'll go bad.

Speaker 3:

Yeah. That's what her dad said,

Speaker 4:

Which like, I, you know, that was totally what I was told when I was a kid, you know, we , my school was next door to a public school and it was like, even the teachers would be like, don't go to the fence. Like , like, cause something was like, it was catching or something, her visit to the, to the BHA who tells her fortune, she just deals the tat cards. And that she's like getting some water and looking for bubbles and she's doing all of these things. And then at the end, she's like basically says like, I'll pray to the Virgin for you. And it's like, oh , that's so spot on too, because you have this interesting mix in Mexican Catholicism, I think of folk practices and sort of a like spiritualism and mysticism. And then you have the church and they all coexist, but it's, it's this weird tenuous sort of relationship at times. And I think it's interesting how the church has like navigated that in the past. But I, I think it's a real credit to her as an author that she can write a scene that has that much underpinning it in a few sentences. You know, these are so spare each little chapter, but you know, so much about each of these characters in spite of that. And I think some of that's the work that she's doing and some of it's the work that she makes us do, our selves, you fill in a lot, you know, the Guild , the furniture shop owner, where they go in and he has the music box and he tells them , well, that's not for sale. Your brain wants to fill in the backstory on that. And so you do so now, you know, a whole lot that you've just put there, you've infused with whatever you're bringing to the table. I think there's real art and how she , um, how she does that in a book that is this slim with so many characters. But like, I feel like I know all these people, like, I feel like I have a real sense of who that person is and how they move through the world and it's dozens of characters, but the book, which is amazing.

Speaker 2:

Yeah. It's a , I mean, it's a slim, it's a slim book. The chapters are super slim. There's so much that she fits in with like effortlessly with very few words. It's , it's a , it's a work of art.

Speaker 3:

I think that definitely speaks to the experience of reading it. And I think that's also why, like you'll pick it up and catch something else that you didn't catch before. So the more we talk about it , the more I'm like the different layers to it. And that's helping me process how much I enjoyed this book. Well, I think

Speaker 4:

The details that were chosen for each character are very purposeful and work extremely well together as stepping stones where you don't need the whole path, you just kind of have these details and to do that without reducing the characters to like cliches or stereotypes, I think is just in incredibly artful. It's very easy to give people enough that you have sort of a cookie cutter version of a art type , right. And that's not what's happening here. I think there's real depth, but there shouldn't be because it's like , cause the book on paragraphs are , but now I feel like I could tell your whole life, which I think is a pretty phenomenal thing to be able to do.

Speaker 5:

I agree that every time you read it, there is something that you kind of are putting together. But to go back to the idea of the details, the thing about the details that stands out for me is that they're so intimate that it's not how many there are. It's the quality of them. Like unfortunately I have a very different dancing experience to than Howa , um , where I feel like my family has my uncle who is always dancing at, at weddings, not so much at funerals at baptism is like, he is always on the dance floor, pulling someone onto the dance floor, to salsa with him and like that, regardless of where we are, we know that uncle Pete is gonna get up there and start dancing. And so like that felt very intimate where like he wants to get you up and dance and I'm like, no, I don't want to. And that's you just end up doing it? Or like you said with like at the, you know, my dad is very much like cats are evil. I'm like, why he's like , they just , they just are, they

Speaker 2:

Just are evil.

Speaker 5:

But then like we have to go to church.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. I did also really like the depiction of the nun in the , in that very brief episode where she wants to eat in the school cafeteria. But you know , she can't cuz she lives too close. Her mom wants her to go home and then her mom finally gets tired of her like complaining about it's like, fine. I'm not gonna make your lunch though, but you I'll write you this note saying that, you know, you're too skinny and can't like burn the calories to come back home. Um, for lunch each day and the Nu is immediately skeptical, love it and says, well don't you just live over there. And then somehow like realizes like it's , there's just this very human moment of where they both see each other as people. And I just thought that was like really beautifully done. I'm sorry. I took a total tangent there off of Catholicism thing.

Speaker 3:

My question is, why does she say the house that wasn't hers was hers.

Speaker 5:

I went to school with nuns. And when they asked you a quick question like that, it doesn't really matter what the answer is. The answer is whatever they're saying. So I definitely was transported back to school , um, where the Nu and was like, wasn't this? And you're just like, yes , ma'am uh ,

Speaker 4:

Sure .

Speaker 2:

Haven't we all had the experience of somebody asks a question and we like , forget how to answer it or forget any details about our life . You're like pull for an answer . And then you realize , you're saying , you're like , this is not S

Speaker 3:

She ate the cafeteria. It was like , it's not even all that. Yeah . And then the other thing was, so is our rice sandwich is a thing.

Speaker 5:

I think they just didn't have lunch meat . Yeah . And

Speaker 3:

I saw that. It said that, but I also didn't know if that was like, literally like a

Speaker 4:

Thing. No. And it ended up being terrible. Right? Because it made everything, all soggy. You know, her mom said, well fine, I'll write you the letter, but we're not doing all of this thing where then you're gonna need mustard on this. And he wants lettuce at all of this. You , you gotta figure this out. And so rice was what she would've had to eat if she had gone home for lunch. So it's like, slap it on some bread. Now it's a sandwich and you look like you should be in the cafeteria.

Speaker 3:

Okay. I just wanted to make sure it wasn't actually the thing before I talked about before I said, how ridiculous that sounded. Well ,

Speaker 5:

I was gonna say, and Heather , speak to this. There's like two extremes of Hispanic culture with food. There's one where like, we're all getting together and cooking these elaborate meals. And then there's like, whatever is in the fridge, in this sandwich and or omelet. And like, those are the only two extremes. Like you either have really good food or you just have like a hodgepodge of whatever you found in the fridge.

Speaker 3:

That's funny cuz um, the reason why that made me laugh so much is because , um, so my mom's from Sierra Leone. My dad is from Guinea African countries, a lot of rice. Um, I guess like I'll just speak to west African countries. I don't know about the whole continent, but I'm right. You know, rice. Um , so whenever we would wanna go out and get something to eat like, oh like could we get McDonald's there's rice at home? So that's, that was really funny to me. One thing that I , we actually funny enough, we haven't really talked about yet is the actual house.

Speaker 5:

Hmm .

Speaker 3:

So , um, and just like, you know, her, her , her wanting to house so bad , I thought it was real interesting because when I was younger, we moved around a lot also. Uh , we lived in different apartments until my parents finally bought a house. I have five siblings. I'm the second oldest. And even when we moved, it's like there are more siblings like , um , in talking about how like, you know, the house or where they lived before, it wasn't their own or they had to deal this, this X, Y , Z . I like that. She talked about how her expectations were, what they were and what they actually ended up being. Because , um, I know for me, I love the house that we live in, but , um, I think TV always gave me that expectation of like neighborhoods. And when you have a house it's very neighborly and everyone's really friendly. And like, my neighbors are not like the, at , at all in the 15 years that I've lived

Speaker 5:

There, I definitely feel the same way and had a very similar experience where when I was really, really young, it , it was just my parents and me and we lived in a basement apartment and then we bought a house and it was supposed to be like, we're moving into a house, we're gonna have lots of room, but we ended up and I loved my childhood house, but it was a townhouse , um, across us from like a meat packing plant where you couldn't go to the park next door because people there that you didn't want your kids around. And so like this whole like dream of like, we have our own house where it didn't really match up to what my parents really sold us as, and at this , I think at some point when , when my siblings came, we ran outta bedrooms. So while we were the house , I had a bedroom, my sister had a bedroom , my parents were sleeping, I think, downstairs on the floor and we didn't have AC, so some nights we would just all sleep on the floor downstairs. So like this house is supposed to be really nice. And it was, but also wasn't

Speaker 4:

And yeah, you think like, oh the neighborhood, it's gonna be like, what you see on TV or something with

Speaker 3:

The white picket fence and

Speaker 5:

Yeah.

Speaker 4:

All the

Speaker 5:

Things

Speaker 4:

It is in a lot of ways, neighborhoods get usually less cohesive when you're in a house than when you're in more housing density, because you're not in each other's business as much. Like you can have distance. That seems to be part of what she wants from this house. She wants some solitude. She wants to be able to remove from everything that's connected to, to her neighborhood, the expectations, the, the hardship, the noise that like it's all of these things. And so like for her, I think it's a , a getting out more than like the house itself. I know she, she talks about a house a lot, but I, I don't get the sense that it's really about the house so much. It's about the idea of a house. It's about the idea of escape and self and having it's embodied meant of who she imagines herself to be. If not, for all of these things that are kind of crushing or where she is.

Speaker 5:

I think houses too also, you know, represent a lot of security. Like, especially when she talks a lot about how they've moved throughout the years. Like if you have a house in theory, you know, you're not moving anytime soon, you own something, this your space , um, she talks about having people live in her attic. Like this is, she can do what she wants

Speaker 4:

With it . The bums in the attic

Speaker 5:

Is so funny. The rats, no

Speaker 4:

Bums about

Speaker 3:

It . Right. She's like, she she's like in say that like satisfied, like This is one of the many times when her parents are just like mentioned the whole like, well, you know, when we , when we win the lottery, like we'll have the house that we want and it just makes it sound so impossible. And I think she takes it. She's like, no, I know I , this is something that I want and this is something that's gonna happen.

Speaker 5:

I think there is a certain point when you're a child where you kind of come to that, understanding that what you think your life is gonna be like and what your parents say your life is gonna be like, is not maybe what your life is like. And I think that that's a really good scene of like, you know, our parents are like, oh, we're gonna win the lottery. Oh, we're gonna move here. Like she, I think internally knows somewhere that, you know, they're , they're not gonna win the lottery. Yeah. You know, they're not, they're not gonna move into this beautiful house. Um , the hill

Speaker 3:

It's like, nobody wants to hear that in response to something you want, oh, when I win the lottery, like I might have made this up , Ella , I feel like I saw you roll your eyes at the lottery part. And I'm just like, and I'm just like that would've been my exact reaction. Like imagine me saying, oh, this is something that I really, really want. Okay. When we win the lottery.

Speaker 5:

Well, the other thing too is like the lottery, you know, obviously the lottery is chance, you know? So there's a chance that you may end up in this beautiful house and, you know, rightfully so. She doesn't wanna hear that. You know, I don't want the chance to maybe if I'm lucky live in this house, like I want to,

Speaker 4:

There's no agency in chance , right ? There is no agency. You're not in control of your own life. If you're leaving it to chance. I do think that's interesting, like the through line of that. And then the book closes is her talking to Alicia and Alicia is the one who got out. So I, I think it is interesting that like maybe the growth that we see in Espanza is her growth towards more realism. As the book goes, you know, she gets less in the magical thinking and more in what are things that I have control over? What can I do? She's talking to the person who's done it. You know, she's not going to go look at the fancy houses and whole , she's gonna figure out next steps for herself. And she starts to believe that I think she believes that she can make that happen. Now,

Speaker 3:

Now let's talk with someone who actually knows something about one of the main topics covered in this book, Chicano literature.

Speaker 8:

Uh, my name is Randy Vero . I am an associate professor of English and also the director of honors humanities at the university of Maryland college park. I'm originally from California, San Francisco bay area, Chicano living now on the east coast.

Speaker 9:

Um, I wanted to start off by asking you broadly, what is Chicano literature?

Speaker 8:

Yeah , that's a great question. And of course there's a long answer and a shorter answer to it. The shorter answer is that Chicano literature is literature, poetry, pros, fiction theater written by Chicano's Chicanos, which is a , a word with a very specific meaning for people of Mexican descent, living in the United States. The word Chicano is not a word that everybody is familiar with. It kind of circulated in the early 19 hundreds. It was often used as an insult to refer to working class Mexican and Mexican Americans during the Chicano Chicano civil rights movement of the 1950s, 1960s and 1970s. It became embraced as a word of pride much in the way that for example, communities took a word that had been a slur and made it a , a badge of honor or ways that the N for example has been reappropriated in some context. So that's kind of the history of the word Chicano and Chicano literature is a very large rich Canon of writing , uh , that, that , um, reflects and, and meditates on the experiences of Chicanos and Chicanos. It is often a literature that is exploring the experience of multilingualism span , Anish English code switching, either languages as well. It's a literature that often explores borders, both physical NA national borders, but also metaphorical borders of different kinds. It's a border crossing literature.

Speaker 9:

So why is the house on mango street important? And like, how does it fit under the umbrella of Chicano literature?

Speaker 8:

It's hard to overstate how important this book is in the Chicano Chicano, literary Canon . Uh, it has been enormously influential in shaping the work of other writers in expanding the readership of Chicano Chicano literature. Uh , the book was originally published in 1984 by a small independent press named art Pubco and art Pubco had been founded in the 1970s by a group of scholar activists who were frustrated with the corporate publishing neglect of Chicano Chicano writers and, and Latino Latina writers. More generally. So house mango street is published in 1984, and it wins this award called the American book award by the before Columbus foundation, which was an organization created by the author Ishmail re , and this gives the book a good deal of visibility. And I think the book over the course of the 1980s begins to expand its readership. And then in 1991, the publisher random house re-releases house on mango street and puts its kind of marketing power behind the book. Visibility increases. CIS is just an enormously influential figure, both because of her visibility in the publishing world as a result of the success of the book. And also just because of the innovations of this book itself, you know, I think this was a book that in a way, for the first time really focused on the experience of Chicanas of Mexican American girls and women and gave them real three dimensionality, a rich, emotional life focused on issues of , uh , feminism of , um , opportunity for girls and women of a lot of things that just hadn't been explored in Chicano literature prior, which had been in many ways, really focused heavily on the experience of boys and men. And so CI notice is just doing something really innovative in this book and is really becoming a public literary figure. And the has just remained really important for that reason. Chicano Chicano literature has changed a lot in the decades since then. I think there's a bunch broader cast of characters. You might say that are available. There's a lot of different kinds of writers with very different backgrounds than some CI SANOS including Chicano Chicano of with African ancestry. But this book remains really important.

Speaker 9:

You've talked about the book being innovative for a lot of reasons. One thing that we commented on is how poetic it is, and Cisneros obviously had a background as a poet. So I wanted talk to you a little bit about the style of the book. Uh , we were kind of on the fence. Is it really a novel, is it a thinly veiled memoir, or is it long form poetry? Where do you come down on sort of the stylistic background of the book?

Speaker 8:

Yeah, I mean, I think I come down on, yes, it is all , all of those things , uh, you know, a big part of Chicano Chicano literature is this idea of , uh , borderlands this idea of spaces that are sort of neither here nor there that are liminal third spaces that very important, Chicano poet and thinker Salah wrote a lot about this. And she's somebody who is very important to CI NATO's writing and , uh , the kind of world that CI NATOs is part of. And I think, you know, part of this book, what makes it remarkable and part of what helps to understand it as you Connell literature, is this sense of cross , uh , borders of different kinds, including genre borders . And so, yeah, I do think this is a book of poetry. Um, I think it reads its fiction too . Uh, it has a lot of these different elements to it and that's what makes it really rewarding when you reread it.

Speaker 9:

The book is also a feminist. Can you speak a little bit about feminism in the book or more broadly within Chicano literature and, and how that is represented and what it looks like?

Speaker 8:

Yeah, absolutely. Um, you know, CIS publishes this book in 1984 at a moment when mainstream feminism, some for many decades had really been predominantly associated with the concerns of, of white women and particularly of, I think of middle class and upper class white women. And, you know, during those same decades, there are a lot of feminists of color who are doing really extra ordinary activism, art things like this. People like Tony Morrison, Tony , Kate Babar , many, many others, CIS is coming out of this world. Um, a , a movement that sometimes gets called third world feminism or feminism of color. And she is somebody who is very much com to thinking about , uh , Chicano, Chicano literature, not just being about representing communities, ethnic communities that haven't been represented much in media, but really thinking about the ways in which the experiences of girls and women are , uh, unique, the kinds of, of , um , obstacles and injuries that they experience as girls and women, and also the kinds of richness of their lives and , um, the beauty and the survival and the , um , progress of, of Chiana girls and women and Soos very much comes out of the kind of best traditions of, of feminist activism by , uh , women and girls of color. And it's , it's just, it's just at the center of this book and part of the book's legacy and also just artistically what makes it amazing. She has these amazing ways of taking really extraordinarily difficult, sometimes painful issues , um, and making them very personal, making them relatable and, and making them them moving and transformative.

Speaker 9:

Okay . Well, thank you so much for talking to me today, Randy. I really appreciate it.

Speaker 8:

Yeah. Thanks. This was a lot of fun.

Speaker 5:

Each episode, our luminous litera and frequent co-host Howa will provide miscellaneous and insights from our book. It's time for how as Headspace.

Speaker 3:

Hi, everyone. Welcome to how Headspace the part of the podcast, where I literally say whatever comes to mind for today's segment, I'll be describing the elements of my dream house . Okay. So first off I would like a French country style home admitted. I didn't know what this was until I started researching for the segment, but it fit so perfectly with what I had in mind. Um, so rocket mortgage describes a French country style home as being inspired by the abodes found in the countryside of France, French country homes have pointed roofs, shutters, and are typically made from stone inside. You'll find a stone fireplace, distressed wood subdued, pallets with styles or warm colors worked in this house is huge. And , uh, that's definitely something that I'm going for. I've always wanted to live in a big house. I have a big family currently, and you know, when I have family of my own, I would just love for us to all be able to have our own space. And I would like to have friendly neighbors, not too friendly though, because I don't want people in my business like that. Like I don't like people that much. Okay. So this might be a library and cliche, but I would definitely want my own personal library. Like right now I have like two bookshelves and a book cart full of books. And I knew that if I had more space for it, I would absolutely have more. And I'd probably share that room with like a space where I can also put, like, I also have a huge record collection and I collect Funko pops as well. And I elephants. So I would just want like one huge room for all my collectibles to have their own space and a space where I can enjoy them as well. Like I would want my own little reading corner and my own little corner where I can play my records. And then just somewhere where my elephants and my Funko pops can be like fully displayed , uh , growing up. I didn't have a room of my own until I was 18. I shared with friend sister until , uh , she went off to college the year before I did. Um, so that's when I kind of finally got to have my own room. And even then, like, she still had to come back for breaks. So I didn't even really have my own room until a couple years later. Uh , I know this might not even necessarily be a thing. Maybe it is depending on how big your house is, but I would love to have like a parking lot, like, or somewhere where, like, I know that if my guests come over, they don't have to worry about where they park a hu one of those high tech kitchens, like where like, you know, like you can get on Twitter from the fridge. I wanna pool. I can't swim, but I wanna pool. And , um, the last thing I would like is indoor fireplace. I, I recently went on a cabin trip and there was a fireplace indoors, and I thought that was really cool. So yeah. Thank you for tuning in to house, head space and make sure you tune in next episode to see what else I got. That's going on in this brain of mine. Eventually having a house to call her own is something that was very to Espanza . We were wondering if she was a house, what kind would she be? We'll figure that out with the help of a personality quiz from qui . So our plan is to answer these questions as Espanza and see what kind of house we get. Question number one. What do you protect my heart? My family, my lover, my past my future.

Speaker 4:

She's 12. So my lover

Speaker 5:

Is probably great .

Speaker 4:

I think my future, I agree. That's I think that's the thing she holds onto the most.

Speaker 3:

What do you fear? These are kind of deep questions for a 12 year old myself failure, hope death, earth pain . This

Speaker 2:

One has less clear cut

Speaker 5:

Failure, potentially.

Speaker 4:

That would be how I lean too

Speaker 3:

Failure. It is pick a book beloved by Tony Morrison. House of leaves by Mark Z. Daniel Linsky annihilation by Jeff Vanier on earth were briefly gorgeous by ocean VG house on mango street by sisters Grims fairy tale was by the grim brothers grim

Speaker 4:

Clearly. It's awesome.

Speaker 3:

I'm sure you figure it , but I just wanna make sure y'all didn't have any other thoughts

Speaker 2:

For me . That is the straightforward answer. And I am , I'm totally there for that one, but I also do think that you could, if you wanted, based on like, sort of the writing style and the short like chapters that almost stand on their own, you could make an argument for grim spurs tales, but

Speaker 5:

I also feel like you could make an argument. Oh, that's a , that's a difficult one. Cause I do think house on mango street is the easy answer.

Speaker 4:

No, I also feel like if we pick Grims it's gonna like have our living in like a tree house or something.

Speaker 5:

That's true.

Speaker 3:

Pick a flower pink Amelia longing red rose. I love you. Hydria gratitude for being understood. Red Columbine trembling, white rose I'm worthy of you or a Daisy. Hope I can read those again if you'd like ,

Speaker 4:

No , I think I lean towards either the pink Amelia

Speaker 3:

Or the Daisy.

Speaker 4:

I don't think hope is right for her. Okay. I was gonna say white rose that I'm worthy of you like that. She's finding herself worth here and she believes in herself. I

Speaker 5:

Feel like I'm leaning towards the pink Amelia for longing only because the majority of the book is that. Yeah. And it's only towards the end that she white roses.

Speaker 4:

Yeah. That's how I feel too. Like I think longing is ever present in this book.

Speaker 2:

I think pink Amelia makes sense. You could argue some others , but I think that one feels the most right to me.

Speaker 3:

I also, she

Speaker 4:

Also had her cute little like pink and white. So it's baptism.

Speaker 3:

And then when they talked about her undershirt with the pink rose on it, like that made me think of like little undershirts used to ,

Speaker 4:

I totally had that same one. Yeah ,

Speaker 5:

Just the one singular

Speaker 4:

One right here. You right here .

Speaker 3:

Yep . All right .

Speaker 2:

I don't know about these undershirts.

Speaker 4:

They were ubiquitous when I was a kid like these little tiny cammies and you'd wear 'em , you know , just some stuff. And they had this little flower right here.

Speaker 3:

We gotta put a picture of the blog.

Speaker 2:

Wait, maybe I did wear one of those as a kid. Who's coming back to me now.

Speaker 5:

You couldn't escape the little rose, but then you saw through the clothes. Yeah .

Speaker 3:

Right? All right . Pink Amelia. It is. Are you in love? Yes. No, I can't be.

Speaker 4:

What does that even mean? I , that feels very melodramatic. I can't be, but like

Speaker 3:

No love , but also I kind of wanna lean towards that. I don't know . I

Speaker 5:

Mean, I feel like because of her age, like

Speaker 4:

People

Speaker 5:

Like benefits .

Speaker 4:

That's fair. Oh ,

Speaker 3:

Boys .

Speaker 4:

Okay. That's fair. So I can't be, the

Speaker 5:

Quiz was written for her.

Speaker 3:

What is your housemate of comp Creek ? Brick. Clay wood glass or metal?

Speaker 4:

Her house is crumbling. Bricks. Okay. That is said in the book. So I think we've got a clear answer on this one.

Speaker 3:

Okay. What kind of house are you please type your answer? Optional.

Speaker 4:

How

Speaker 3:

On do a quiz

Speaker 4:

Now ? I say ,

Speaker 3:

What kind of house I am and then ask me what kind of house I am. This is very metal . You can ,

Speaker 5:

You can without answering.

Speaker 4:

Okay . I got it. A house of my own. So how , what type in? Not, not an apartment in back. Not a man's house. Those are her literal words. Let's see what it tells.

Speaker 5:

What does that mean? Not a man's house. Oh, is it just like a man that, because

Speaker 4:

It belongs to her. Oh, gotcha. Gotcha. Gotcha . Like it's not her husbands or her dads

Speaker 3:

Or okay. So our results and um, I think if you guys can put this in the blog, that'd be great. So people can have a visual if that's okay. Gimme a homework. Um ,

Speaker 5:

I studied architecture. So I'm ready .

Speaker 3:

Your result , a house with teeth,

Speaker 5:

With teeth, with teeth, with teeth. Like the beverage

Speaker 3:

Teeth. No teeth like teeth in your mouth. E T H . Yes. Like teeth in your mouth. Yes. A house with teeth. You consume all things around, you taking them in and never letting them out. You've eaten your past self, consumed your doubts, letting them settle somewhere inside you. There is a hungry thing sewn into you and you look forward always. Um, so to, to describe this house , um , I don't know if y'all are looking at it . If somebody else can better describe it.

Speaker 4:

Okay . It is a Ram shackle, very large home.

Speaker 5:

Lots of GS it's in disrepair looks haunted is clearly uninhabited. It's like three stories with like all of these, like dormer windows. There's like a Tourette . Have you seen the movie monster house ? The animated movie? No, it's, there's a lot. It's like a weirdly serious kids movie, but basically the , the house is haunted by someone's dead spirit , but the house has a like teeth and it it's very similar, but

Speaker 3:

Yes . You know, I feel like that's what they modeled this off of because I just Googled it and it's just like, it

Speaker 5:

Is that house. Yes.

Speaker 3:

So it looks like it.

Speaker 5:

I will say I went to the rest of the results. Um, and I don't really like any of them. The choices were a house with bees in the walls, a house with ghosts in it, a house on fire, a house with teeth and a water logged house. This

Speaker 2:

Took a strange turn.

Speaker 5:

It is , this is a dark quiz . Yeah, though . In fairness, I don't think that the description was totally off base . Like no. Yeah. There is a hungry thing sewn into you and you look forward, always that's accurate. That's actually also very poetic. And that

Speaker 3:

Sounds who came from a , a chapter that was left out of this book's something do y'all think that , uh , Esperanza would be pleased with this house?

Speaker 5:

I mean, no, I don't

Speaker 2:

Think

Speaker 5:

She would solitude, but she'd be like, why, why is this house falling apart? She , this is not what I had in mind. There's

Speaker 2:

Ghost in it . I wanted to be alone.

Speaker 3:

Yes . But honestly, all these options are

Speaker 5:

Bad. I was gonna say out of all the options, I feel like this is the least of them. That's true. Uh , cuz she could just fix at this house. If the walls are full of bees, that's another, that's a problem. That's a thing. All right . Each episode we ask, whether our book passes, the Bede test , the Bede test asks whether a work features two female characters who talk to each other about something that doesn't involve men or boy. So does it pass? Yes, yes,

Speaker 3:

Yes though. At first I was like, Hmm . But yeah it does.

Speaker 5:

Yeah. You do have to pause cuz there is a lot of talk that centers on boys , but there are conversations that do not

Speaker 2:

Well, that's it for this episode of these books made me join us next time when we'll discuss books in which a girl wears loafers with no socks to her first day of school. If you think you know which book we're tackling next, drop us a tweet. We're at P G C M L S on Twitter. And hashtag these books made me.