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This paper will discuss how two characters, Esperanza and Stephanie are searching for their real identity. In Esperanza is dumbfounded by the atmosphere that surrounds her because she is a Chicana which is a mixture of Mexican and American. One the other hand Stephanie is biracial and doesn't know if she's American or Mexican. She makes up her mind to visit Mexico to find her ethnicity, if she truly is Mexican Enough but the only way they find their identity is that they experience in life and interact with the world that makes them eccentric from the non-writes their stories are true and they are the narrator's of their story this explains why Esperanza wrote The House on Mango Street from living in Mango street in Chicago and Stephanie wrote MEXICAN ENOUGH where she also share her experiences of how she found her identity, by living in Mexico made her have a different perspective and realizing that she will never fully concurred being Mexican enough. She also finds concealment in sharing her story with the world, which they both become confident writers that lead them too ambitious plans and find their true identity.
The search for identity of these two women experienced coming from a Hispanic backgrounds, but meanwhile living in the United States. Their lives and personality are not defined of who they truly are. Esperanza lives in Chicago in the ghetto on a street named Mango Street, which is a Latin neighborhood. "Finally, her parents are able to afford a home, but the family dream house had to have enough space for the whole family and with one than more bathroom, because in her family there are her parents, her two brothers Kiki and Carlos, and her younger sister Nenny. But when they moved to Mango Street the house had only one bathroom and one bedroom for all them to share. Esperanza didn't like the house because she wouldn't have any privacy at all. Her parents told her that the house would not be permanent it would only be temporary." In Esperanza mind she knew that they were trying not to make her feel uncomfortable of this inconvenience. Living in this house Esperanza projects rejection towards this home although this house is an improvement compared to the way they used to live in an apartment. "I bet I can see your house from my window. Which one? Come here. Which one is your house? And then she made me stand up on a box of books and point. 'That one?' She said, pointing to a row of ugly three-flats, the ones even the raggedy men are ashamed to go into.'' Yes, "I nodded even though I knew that wasn't my house and started to cry."(pg.45) Esperanza is ashamed of her house, and telling her mom to write a letter to the sister superior telling her that her daughter lives far way so she can eat in the lunchroom in the canteen. The nun knows where Esperanza lives and makes her point to her house, which Esperanza is extremely ashamed of and begins to cry.
Likewise, Stephanie also has issues with her identity when it comes down to applying to the University of Texas, Austin. She is confronted with reality and has to make a decision that will determine her future. "My guidance counselor called me into her office and asked a familiar question: "What are you Stephanie? Hispanic or white?" "Before I could respond, she said that my SAT scores weren't high enough for funding if I was considered white. If I was Hispanic, she predicted, doors would swing open. "Think about it," she said."(pg.6) Having put to the test Stephanie has to decide is she's truly Hispanic or white, she changes the W to a H on her transcript. Automatically she begins to receive all of the benefits that the school offers her like scholarships, freshman year paid, free tutoring. Having taken this action Stephanie feels guilty on the action she had committed, so she tries to become that H that she placed on her transcript.
In addition, Esperanza and Stephanie are encountered with a common situation about school. Esperanza tries the most impossible of being way from her home and likes being at the canteen, wasting most of the day so she's not seen at her house because she's ashamed of where she lives. Stephanie takes advantage of being biracial by putting an H that stands for Hispanic because she would be qualified for a scholarship. This would open doors that so she would be able to attend Texas University with the benefits the school offers Hispanics. But at the same time she felt guilt for seeing that the other Hispanics had to work hard to achieve a scholarship.
For instance, when Esperanza is named after her great-grandmother, which this name has background history because "Esperanza and her great-grandmother they were both born in the same Chinese year which is the horse. The horse symbolizes strength but it's also a sign of bad luck especially for women." Of course Esperanza does not believe in the superstition. Although Esperanza never had the opportunity to know who her great-grandmother was. Her mother told Esperanza that her great-grandmother story that she was forced to get married which she never forgave her husband. "She looked out the window her whole elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was she sorry because she couldn't be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window."(Pg.11) Esperanza realizes that women back in the day where submitted to a live that was unfair and she doesn't want to live her life like her great-grandmother lived it and wants to change the perception that the name has. Esperanza would rather "baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees. Esperanza as Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X. Yes. Something like Zeze the X will do."(pg.11) Likewise, Stephanie changed her American middle name (ANN) to her mother's name (ELIZONDO) and from that day on she made everybody caller her elizondo. Stephanie change her name so she would more Hispanic with that kind of name. Esperanza and Stephanie both made a change of identity by changing their name, hoping that by having a name that would fit who they truly would like to be called. The name they both chose it would give them more confidence, power, fit in and feel accepted in the society. The name both Esperanza and Stephanie chose it would design their new identity along with a change in their personality.
Furthered on, their search of identity also makes a major impact on the atmosphere that surrounds both Esperanza and Stephanie, because they both shared the same dream that in the future they would be writers. Esperanza having this dream she was confronted with a sexual assault that in way motivates her and finds consolation, begins to express her thoughts by writing them. Esperanza's writing was an escape of the neighborhood. Also the atmosphere that surrounds her from her neighbors was that each neighbor had a perspective on life and a path that Esperanza was expose to. "One day I will pack my bags of books and paper. One day I will say goodbye to Mango. I am too strong for her to keep me here forever. One day I will go way."(pg.110) Esperanza not wanting to follow the same direction of not seeing what's beyond life, she leaves Mango Street in search of succeeding in life as a writer. "They will not know I have gone away to come back. For the ones I left behind. For the ones who cannot out."(pg.110)She makes her neighbors a promise that she will come back and prove them that she accomplishes her goal of being a writer and setting the example that what you put your mind to in return you will have a positive outcome in life.
On the other hand, Stephanie leaves Texas and comes to Mexico to investigate her ethnicity. She has communication with Fabian a friend of hers who lives in Queretaro, Mexico. The atmosphere that Stephanie has now been encounter with she will experience the traditions and cultural aspects that Mexico celebrates. But there is a problem that Stephanie does not speak enough Spanish. "What if I did learn Spanish-and nothing changed? For years, this has been my pipe dream: If I only spoke Spanish, I would be more Mexican.But what if it isn't possible to become a member of an ethnic or cultural group-to will yourself into it, to choose? What if you can only be born and raised into it?"(pg.4) Stephanie is in search of her identity of becoming Mexican what it would take her to fulfill her dream. She visited places that she was opened minded of visiting for example La Zona Rosa, las luchas libres(wrestling matches). She also visited Chiapas, Oaxaca while they did strikes and marches, conflicts with the government and schools. But she also experiences the traditions these two states offer the tourist. Having all of these experiences embraced in her mind she writes them out she also interviews indigenous people and gets feedback on everything that she has doubt of is answered. She returns to New York City and publishes her book Mexican Enough with full detail and say ¨that she will never be Mexican Enough there is too much to learn from a gain from Mexico to really be Mexican who have to be born and raised Mexican¨(pg.4).Esperanza and Stephanie now experience living in an unpleasant atmosphere which it had consequences, but it was an obstacle that they had to overcome it, because with the help of the people that they where surround by helped them in the search for their own goal in life to become a writer, that benefited them of realizing and reacting of how to manage their life and taking it to a different destination.
Finally, Esperanza living in Mango Street in a way it affected her because she was in search of her identity but, it was difficult because where she lived it had an influenced in her childhood. That made her live confusing and frustrated that made her peruse for a more valuable life and future. Escaping and pursuing her dream of being a writer and she made a recognition of her experience'sin life back in Mango street and she published her book The House on Mango Street. Stephanie wanted to find out by her own sources and investigate what was her true identity if she was American or Mexican. She decided that the only way was to go and visit Mexico in person and live all the tradition's and experience the culture has to offer. She does all of that but at the end she considers herself that she will never be Mexican Enough she realizes that she will be biracial and resigns of whatever you are it´s enough. Also Stephanie through her journey in Mexico she experiences a different perspective on live and shares it by publishing her book MEXICAN ENOUGH.
In conclusion, searching for their identity Esperanza and Stephanie have difficulties because they witness a mixture of emotions and the situation they lived and experience, which makes it hard for both of them, of having to define their identity and personality as a person. What defines them is that as time goes by they both mature and become confident and motivated woman because they have a different vision of inspiration of a change of life, by being writers, that's how they find their identity.