Photo 2008 by Honou [CC-BY-SA-2.0]
Where do stories come from? That was a question that I began thinking about months ago. During these months, my classmates and I were in the process of reading the book The House on Mango Street. The story of this novel was built up on a large series of stories from the narrator’s life. Each story was unique in their different way. I have written blog posts about this book before and like my peers, I have tried to find and build up an answer to my question. While reading this novel, I believed that there was no way I could answer my question, but after reading this novel and sitting down to think, I began trying to find answers.
A majority of the chapters in the story are stories that the author creates are most of the time random and have no definite significance. This led me to believe that my question was almost unanswerable if I used this novel. Watching a video one of my peers found online helped me change my opinion.
One of the quotes from this video was:
[A story] doesn’t have to be magnificent. Power is about lighting up dreams to action.
This quote made me think that there had to be some meaning that had to be in this book, even if there were no connections between all of these random stories. I hoped that finding some sort of meaning in this book, I could also find an answer to my question.
It literally took me 10 minutes after watching this video for me to find an answer to my question through this book. I took note of the topics of a large majority of the stories in the novel and realized that stories could come from anywhere. Each story was inspired from different topics, all diverse and different, yet they all had the purpose of building up the novel’s moral.
For example, the very first chapter The House on Mango Street was written to tell the narrator’s first experience in her new home as a child. She saw how ugly and poor the building was and could not help, but complain about it. It was inspired by the narrator’s complaints and built up a sympathetic opening. This story was an opening of how most of the characters in this story were suffering in the neighborhood that they all lived in.
Photo 2013 by David in Lisburn [CC-BY-SA-2.0]
The chapter My Name is one example of an important chapter in the novel. The narrator gets inspiration to tell this story from the origins and meaning of her name in her Mexican culture. She talks about how she hates her name and feels as if she has no control over her life by having this name.
The chapter No Speak English was written to talk about a female immigrant named Mamacita and her interactions with American people and her family. It was quite a sad story to talk about; it was inspired by the narrator’s observations about this immigrant who was one of her neighbors. The neighbor had a difficulty adjusting with the new land she and her family moved to and her unwillingness to learn English, leading to her being shunned by most of her neighbors and even her own children.
All of these stories had an origin whether they were notable or puny, showing that a story can come from anywhere. Even the first sentence of the final chapter gives this implication. Though they were usually unconnected and not sequential, most of these randomly inspired tales had a purpose that was built up to show readers how they should be thankful for what they have and think about how not many other people can enjoy things like they can.
This story helped me in finding an answer to my question on where do stories come from. The fact is that stories have no definite beginning because they can come from just about anywhere. The House on Mango Street demonstrates how even the simplest of stories can come from a large variety of places. Though it seems absurd, the art of story telling does not always need to be the same as any other story. The uniqueness of its origins makes a story interesting and how the story is built helps demonstrate a great purpose. Any book an author creates are inspired from whatever he loves and sees around him and it is his duty to make those sources of inspirations into vivid, enjoyable stories.