The short story “The Monkey Garden” by Sandra Cisnero forms part of the larger novel, known as the “The Mango Street”. The story focuses on the growing up of a child, known as Esperanza, whose entire life changes within one encounter. The Monkey Garden is so-called because the owners, who have now moved away, had a pet monkey. This paper shall focus on the setting of this short story, which is, as already observed the “Monkey Garden”.
Esperanza views the garden as innocent, although it is ironic in the sense because it actually is polluted in the literal sense since it has become the place, where old cars are dumped and other trash is dumped (Spark Notes, n.p). However, perhaps the reason for this outlook of Esperanza could be attributed to the fact that the garden is the place for children’s adventures; where the children’s mothers cannot find them, where the children had the liberty of playing, without the polluted world of adults around them. By going to this particular garden, she avoids the things that are expected of her as a female (oppapers, n.p). In just about the same way, the protagonist of the story found things in the garden, which had been unnoticed before, such as the big, succulent sunflowers and thick cockscombs. These discoveries led Esperanza’s imagination to run wild for she thought of life on a mysterious planet on Mars. Such childlike innocence, naivety and lack of knowledge are symbolized by this garden.
The author cleverly puts the main character in the position, where she is forced to accept the reality; that she cannot escape from the adult world. This is done when Sally commits the adult crime, thus defiling the immense purity and childlike innocence of the place. The garden is no longer for children. The boys steal Sally’s keys, and Sally views this as an opportunity to flirt with the boys. The realization of the physical attraction between Sally and the male members transform Esperanza. The beauty of the garden is destroyed. She has been exposed to one of the eminent processes of growing up, as an adult. In this sense, the setting of the story is of particular importance because this place shows Esperanza the actual reality of the world.
The Monkey Garden can be viewed as an allegory for the Garden of Eden (Biblical Story), in which Eve defiles the innocence and purity of the garden by enticing Adam to eat the apple. In just about the same, Sally destroys this innocence and changes the outlook of the garden by Esperanza (Gradesaver, n.p). Esperanza’s paradise becomes a place of humiliation and embarrassment “They look at me….and made me feel ashamed”. Her innocence shattered, Esperanza finds herself in the limbo, where she does not like the adult games played by the boys and Sally, and where is forced to admit that she has become an adult. She loses her sense of identity in this very place. “The Garden that had seemed such a good place to play didn’t seem mine either”. This could be attributed to the fact that she is no longer a child.
In this way, this short story is primarily the journey of a child growing up, but in a farcical sense, which shatters the individual, and forces her to accept the reality.
Cisneros, Sandra. “House on Mango Street Study Guide: Summary and Analysis of Minerva Who Writes Poems-Linoleum Roses | GradeSaver.” Study Guides & Essay Editing | GradeSaver. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2011.
“Importance Of The Monkey Garden In The House On Mango Street – Term Papers – Blake59762.” Free Term Papers, Research Papers, Essays, Book Reports | OPPapers.com. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2011.
“SparkNotes: The House on Mango Street: Sections 37–40.” SparkNotes: Todays Most Popular Study Guides. N.p., n.d. Web. 8 Dec. 2011. <http://www.sparknotes.com/lit/m