This article argues that understanding what the house in Sandra Cisneros's The House on Mango Street symbolizes is foundational to contextualizing the radical possibilities that Cisneros enacts in her work. Unlike most critics who read “the house” as referencing the title of the text, I argue that the novel is full of houses, notably the house located on Mango Street that narrator Esperanza Cordero longs to escape from, and the house away from Mango Street that she longs to one day have. By reading these two houses through Homi Bhabha's notion of the “unhomely” and Gaston Bachelard's notion of “felicitous space”, we can better understand a critique of the house in light of its resonance with the American Dream on the one hand, and a reconfiguration of that symbolism through a feminist intervention on the other.

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