Edited By Beata Ptaszyńska, Paulina Stanik and Stanisław Świtlik
Cultural historians, literary scholars and linguists have been concerned with the question of how the world can be understood and represented in text. This volume presents new questions, methods and approaches in Humanism by promoting scholarly work of young researchers who participated in the Inter-/Trans-/Unidisciplinary Methods – Techniques – Structures conference in Warsaw, Poland. In their analyses, the authors shed new light on works of literature, foreign cultures and languages of the world by adopting broad perspectives and using various methods. It contains eleven articles organized into the following parts: The World in Languages and The World in Literature.
Significant Others in Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (1984) (Paulina Pietras)
Significant Others in Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (1984)
Abstract: Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street (1984) is a life narrative in which Cisneros introduces a narrator – Esperanza Cordero – to describe her childhood and adolescence spent in a poor district, surrounded by other immigrants. The novel depicts numerous others who have influenced the constitution of the narrator’s identity – siblings, peers, neighbours, the inhabitants of other districts, accidental visitors. In my paper, I would like to discuss the relevance of the encounter with the significant other for the formation of the life narrator’s feminine and feminist identity. In The House on Mango Street significant otherness is manifested not only in gender discrepancies, social class and linguistic alterity, but also in the domain of nature and magical forces. The other is also an absent best friend, the would-be addressee of secrets, or the life narrator’s younger sister Nenny referred to as responsibility, which may be understood in the traditional sense as “duty”, or, in the context of Emmanuel Levinas’s theory, as the constant necessity to respond. The encounter with otherness is, to a great extent, portrayed as a positive experience, but it may also be considered oppressive or controlling.
Keywords: collectivity, identity constitution, life narrative, self and other encounter, significant otherness, female life writing, responsibility
Sandra Cisneros (born in Chicago, 1954) is a poet, short story writer, novelist and essayist. She has also worked as...
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