In the short story “The House on Mango Street” Sandra Cisneros unfolds her childhood memories where she and her family struggled with poor living conditions on the way to their own house, and she seems to suffer from it more than anyone of the family. When one day they finally get the house of their own and her family seems to be ready to settle with it, she continues suffering because it’s not the house she imagined and built up in her dreams. At that point Cisneros obtains her dream to be fulfilled: she decides that whatever happens, she must have her dream house.
Whereas Cisneros talks about a dream’s birth, Langston Hughes in his poem “A Dream Deferred” investigates the destiny of a dream. Predicting what could happen to a dream that is not yet realized, he tries to measure the impact of a dream in our life. At first sight, these two works might seem completely different; however, upon a closer look it’s obvious that they are closely connected: Cisneros tells us what led her to obtain a dream, whereas Hughes contemplates on continuation of a dream’s existence.
In “The House on Mango Street” the author tells us how she found her dream. Her large family had to move all the time in search of a decent place to live. Experiencing what not having her own place is like, moving all the time and being ashamed of her shelters, Sandra Cisneros defines the features of the house of her dream. It has to be not just her own place to live, but also a place that she could be proud of. She describes her dream house: “inside it would have real stairs, not a hallway stairs, but stairs inside like the houses on TV”; it “would be white with trees around it, a great big yard and grass growing without a fence”(501). Moreover, she says it has to be the house “…one I could point to” (Cisneros 502). Even though these features are not necessities for living, the author’s own dream becomes her necessity to be fulfilled.
In “A Dream Deferred” the author proposes a lot of theories of a dream’s destiny: it may calm down, but still exist. In his words, it dries “like a raisin in the sun”, or “crust and sugar over – like a syrupy sweet” (Hughes); or it may redouble with the time: “fester like a sore- and then run” (Hughes), and eventually, it may just “explode”. But one thing he shows he is sure about – that “dream deferred” never dies; he doesn’t even consider such an option in his poem.
Sandra Cisneros describes what caused her to build up her dream, whereas Langston Hughes tries to guess the results of any dream’s existence. Cisneros doesn’t unveil to us what happened to her dream; in contrast, Hughes gives a lot of options. However, upon a closer analysis we might notice that their ideas are quite similar: Cisneros leaves her future on a reader’s imagination, and Hughes gives the reader a right to chose from options he gave. And what completely unites them is their belief that dream is immortal. Cisneros proves that by her certainty that she has to have her dream house: “I knew then I had to have a house. A real house.” (Cisneros 502), and Hughes refutes the traceless disappearance of a dream.
From millions of childhood experiences there are some that form our dreams. These experiences can be positive, thus, they will play as a role model throughout our life, or, they can be negative – then our dream will be imagined ideal for our future.
Whatever it is, once dream is born, it will never disappear; it can become almost indistinct, but still, its influence on us is tremendous. Even though both authors leave the question open, they imply similar ideas of dream’s importance in one’s life and danger of a dream to be deprived of fulfillment. When we read both works, the final decision is not a question for us: we agree with Hughes that dream doesn’t extinct and is made to be fulfilled and we know for Cisneros that she’ll pursue her goal, because the energy of a dream is absolute.
Cisneros, Sandra. “The House on Mango Street”. 40 Short Stories. Ed. Beverly Lawn.
New York: Bedford, 2001
Hughes, Langston. “A Dream Deferred”.