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To Kill a Mockingbird and The House on Mango Street: Compare and Contrast

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In the books, Speak, To Kill a Mockingbird, and House on Mango Street, they all lead with wonderful main characters. Jean Louise Finch is the main character in the book, To Kill a Mockingbird. Melinda Sordino is the main character in the book Speak. Lastly, Esperanza Cordero is the main character in the book. House on Mango Street. Throughout the books, they all share their similarities and differences.

In To Kill a Mockingbird, Jean Lousie Finch, or more known as Scout, is an 8-year-old girl. Her father is Atticus and her brother is named Jem. During the story, we find out they all go through a lot, while the story takes place. Scout is more of a Tomboy who is adventurous and she loves hanging out with her brother. In the beginning, we learn that her mother passed away when Scout was 2 years old. In the book, Speak, Melinda Sordino is the main character. She is a freshman in high school, with little to no friends at all. Melinda has a hard time bonding with her parents. She feels as if she is an outsider. She was raped over the summer and wasn’t able to speak up about it when the time was right. She goes throughout her first year of high school, dealing with this problem. Lastly, Esperanza Cordero is the main character in the book, House On Mango Street. She is struggling to live in a world where not all people are accepted others for who they are. She learns the world isn’t all so great, one day at a time. Esperanza lives in Chicago, in a small, run-down house. Because of this, she isn’t very happy with her living conditions, or herself in general. Just like Melinda, she had an awful encounter with a man.

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Once again, all three girls have gone through a lot in their lives. One example is, each of them have been through traumatic experiences with men. They are subjected as fragile or easy to take advantage of. Melinda and Esperanza were raped by guys at a young age. They weren’t able to tell anyone afterward. “He said I love you , Spanish girl, I love you, and pressed his sour lips on mine.” (Cisneros, pg, 100). ” There is no avoiding it, no forgetting. No running away, or flying, or burying, or hiding. Andy Evans raped me in August when I was drunk and too young to know what was happening. It wasn’t my fault… And I’m not going to let it kill me. I can grow.”(Anderson, pg. 198) Unlike the other two, Scout wasn’t raped by a guy. She was attacked by Bob Ewell. He attacked her for revenge. He felt as if she was the problem.

Another good example of them going through hard times is that they all had problems going on at school. Scout knew more than all of her classmates and was told by her teacher, she wasn’t allowed to learn anything else at home. “Miss Caroline told me to tell my father not to teach me any more, it would interfere with my reading. ‘Now you tell your father not to teach you anymore. It’s best to begin reading with a fresh mind. You tell him I’ll take over from here and try to undo the damage-.”(Lee, pg.22-23) Esperanza wasn’t allowed to attend a public school. She was forced to get a job and help pay for her private school tuition. Lastly, Melinda had a hard time meeting new people and just keeping her old friends in general. “Her eyes meet mine for a second. ‘I hate you,’ she mouths silently. She turns her back to me and laughs with her friends.” (Anderson, pg 5)

One last thing they all have in common is, they all had some sort of problems going on at home. Esperanza wasn’t thrilled with her house. She wanted more than she had. She yearned for better living conditions.“They always told us that one day we would move into a house, a real house that would be ours for always so we wouldn’t have to move each year. And our house would have running water and pipes that worked. And inside it would have real stairs, not hallway stairs, but stairs inside like the houses on T.V. And we’d have a basement and at least three washrooms so when we took a bath we wouldn’t have to tell everybody. Our house would be white with trees around it, a great big yard and grass growing without a fence. This was the house Papa talked about when he held a lottery ticket and this was the house Mama dreamed up in the stories she told us before we went to bed. But the house on Mango Street is not the way they told it at all. (Cisneros, pg,4). In Melinda’s case, her parents paid little to no attention to her at all. They acted as if she didn’t exist. Scout, on the other hand, was left without a mother. So, she didn’t know what it was like. She never really had that mother figure in her life. Her mom died when she was just 2 years old. “Our mother died when I was two, so I never felt her absence.” (Lee, pg.7)

Amongst all the similarities they share, they all share their differences too. Overall, Melinda is older than Esperanza and Scout. Melinda is around 14, she is a freshman in high school. ”I am in foreign territory where No Freshman Ffas Gone Before.” (Anderson, pg 25).

Scout is the youngest out of the other two. Unlike Melinda, Scout and Esperanza have siblings.”Jem was the product of their first year of marriage; four years later I was born, and two years later our mother died from a sudden heart attack.” (Lee, Pg, 7). “By the time we got to Mango Street, we were six-Mama, Papa, Carlos, Kiki, my sister Nenny and me.” (Cisneros, pg 3). Scouts’ story, To Kill a Mockingbird, takes place in the 1930’s.”There is a tendency in this year of grace,1935, for certain people to use this phrase out of context, to satisfy all conditions.” (Lee, pg, 274) Esperanza’s story takes place in the 1960s. “A few contextual clues, like the car Louie steals and the song Marin is constantly singing to herself, probably establish the time period as the late 1960s.” (This can be found on the website

Unlike Scouts or Esperanza’s story, Melinda’s story most likely took place in the 1990s. “It probably takes place in the late 1990s, since the book was first published in 1999.” 

All three Characters, Melinda, Scout, and Esperanza all have something in common. Whether it’s their differences that they share or their similarities. In the end, they prove that, no matter what you go through, there is always a good outcome. They show bravery, compassion, and courage in their own way.

Citations

  1. Lee, Harper-To Kill A Mockingbird.New York: Grand Central Publishing. 1960.
  2. Cisneros, Sandra -The House On Mango Street: New York: Vintage Books 2009.
  3. Anderson, Laurie Halse.-Speak : New York Penguin Group. 1999.         

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