The bestselling coming-of-age classic, acclaimed by critics, beloved by readers of all ages, taught in schools and universities alike, and translated around the world from the winner of the 2018 PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.
The House on Mango Street is the remarkable story of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago, inventing for herself who and what she will become. Told in a series of vignettes-sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous-Sandra Cisneros' masterpiece is a classic story of childhood and self-discovery. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers.
About the Author
Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist and essayist whose work explores the lives of the working-class. Her numerous awards include NEA fellowships in both poetry and fiction, the Texas Medal of the Arts, a MacArthur Fellowship, several honorary doctorates and national and international book awards, including Chicago’s Fifth Star Award, the PEN Center USA Literary Award, and the National Medal of the Arts awarded to her by President Obama in 2016. Most recently, she received the Ford Foundation’s Art of Change Fellowship, was recognized among The Frederick Douglass 200, and was awarded the PEN/Nabokov Award for Achievement in International Literature.
Her classic, coming-of-age novel, The House on Mango Street, has sold over six million copies, has been translated into over twenty languages, and is required reading in elementary, high school, and universities across the nation.
In addition to her writing, Cisneros has fostered the careers of many aspiring and emerging writers through two non-profits she founded: the Macondo Foundation and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation. She is also the organizer of Los MacArturos, Latino MacArthur fellows who are community activists. Her literary papers are preserved in Texas at the Wittliff Collections at Texas State University.
Sandra Cisneros is a dual citizen of the United States and Mexico and earns her living by her pen. She currently lives in San Miguel de Allende.
Hometown:San Antonio, Texas
Date of Birth:December 20, 1954
Place of Birth:Chicago, Illinois
Education:B.A., Loyola University, 1976; M.F.A., University of Iowa Writers' Workshop, 1978
What People are Saying About This
“A classic. . . . This little book has made a great space for itself on the shelf of American literature.”
“Afortunado! Lucky! Lucky the generation who grew up with Esperanza and The House on Mango Street. And lucky future readers. This funny, beautiful book will always be with us.”
—Maxine Hong Kingston
"Cisneros draws on her rich [Latino] heritage...and seduces with precise, spare prose, creat[ing] unforgettable characters we want to lift off the page. She is not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one."
—Bebe Moore Campbell, The New York Times Book Review
"Marvelous...spare yet luminous. The subtle power of Cisneros's storytelling is evident. She communicates all the rapture and rage of growing up in a modern world."
—San Francisco Cronicle
"A deeply moving novel...delightful and poignant.... Like the best of poetry, it opens the windows of the heart without a wasted word."
"Sandra Cisneros is one of the most brillant of today's young writers. Her work is sensitive, alert, nuanceful...rich with music and picture."
Sandra Cisneros is one of the most brilliant of today's young writers. Her work is sensitive, alert, nuanceful…rich with music and picture.
Reading Group Guide
“Sandra Cisneros is one of the most brilliant of today’s young writers. Her work is sensitive, alert, nuanceful . . . rich with music and picture.” –Gwendolyn Brooks
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros has been recognized by critics, professors, and readers alike as one of most important contributions to modern literature. This landmark story collection relates the triumphant coming-of-age of young Esperanza Cordero who finds her own voice and inner potential to overcome the impediments of poverty, gender, and her Chicana-American heritage. We hope the following introduction, discussion questions, suggested reading list, and author biography enhance your group’s reading of this exceptional work.
1. For discussion of the individual stories in THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET
“The House on Mango Street”
In describing her house, or where she lives, what does Esperanza convey about her self-identity? How is the description of her house different from other information about her and her family’s identity, such as a name, an occupation, or a physical description? Why might Cisneros have chosen to open the book with a description of Esperanza’s house?
What binds a family together in The House on Mango Street?
3. “My Name”
What does Esperanza find shameful or burdensome about her name? Why might Cisneros have chosen this name for her protagonist?
4. “Cathy Queen of Cats”
Why is Cathy’s family about to move, and what does this mean to Esperanza?
5. “Our Good Day”
At this stage of her life, what are Esperanza’s friendships based on, and what do her friends mean to her? Does she fit in with an older or younger crowd, and how does she feel about her place in the social hierarchy?
What common traits does Esperanza share with Nenny, and how does she distinguish herself from Nenny?
7. “Gil’s Furniture Bought & Sold”
What makes Esperanza want the music box, and why is she ashamed of wanting it? How does her reaction to the box differ from Nenny’s reaction, and what does this difference tell the reader about the difference between the two girls? As in “Hairs” and “Laughter,” how does Esperanza separate herself from her family?
8. “Meme Ortiz”
How do the residents of Mango Street interact with one another?
9. “Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin”
How do Esperanza’s vivid similes such as those in this story (“the nose of that yellow Cadillac was all pleated like an alligator’s” [p. 25]) or those in “Laughter” (“ice cream bells’ giggle” or laughter “like a pile of dishes breaking” [p. 17]) set the tone throughout the novel? As Esperanza matures, does her use of simile change?
Does Marin dream of sex, romance or love, or all three? What are her goals? How does Esperanza position herself vis-á-vis Marin, and what is her opinion of Marin? Can she identify with Marin, and how might Marin be or not be a role model for Esperanza?
11. “Those Who Don’t”
How does Esperanza’s view of herself compare to her perception of how others view her?
What is the picture of the neighborhood that Esperanza paints for the reader? Does this picture change the reader’s perception of the neighborhood from this point on in the book?
12. “There Was an Old Woman She Had So Many Children She Didn’t Know What to Do”
Like “Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays,” the title of this story is long and filled with detail. What do these and other titles in the book convey about the people and the life surrounding Esperanza? What kind of tone do these longer titles set for the story? What do they suggest about Esperanza’s character?
How are children regarded in Esperanza’s community?
13. “Alicia Who Sees Mice”
How has Esperanza’s relationships with Alicia changed since “Cathy Queen of Cats”?
How does Esperanza’s portrait of Alicia compare to her portrait of Marin? What do these portraits indicate about the differences between the two girls, and about Esperanza herself?
14. “Darius & the Clouds”
How does Esperanza keep her dreams alive? Does she hold any religious beliefs?
15. “And Some More”
What is the importance of names? How does Esperanza portray names in this story in comparison to her own name in “My Name”? How has her narrative voice changed from that earlier story?
16. “The Family of Little Feet”
To what degree is Esperanza aware of sex and sexuality? What does this indicate to the reader about her age?
17. “A Rice Sandwich”
What kind of person is Esperanza? What does the reader learn from this story about her strengths and weaknesses?
What stage in Esperanza’s life does this story capture, and how is this stage portrayed?
How has Esperanza’s voice changed from the previous stories “And Some More” and “The Family of Little Feet,” and in what ways is her voice still the same?
How does Esperanza distinguish herself from Nenny in this story? Does this distinction echo the one in “Gil’s Furniture Bought and Sold”?
How does Esperanza distinguish herself from the other girls she plays with, and has her relationship with them changed since the earlier stories such as “And Some More” or “Our Good Day”?
Has Esperanza’s comprehension of her own sexuality changed since “Marin,” and, if so, how?
20. “The First Job”
What range of emotions does Esperanza experience in this story, and how does Cisneros convey these emotions to the reader without naming them? How does Esperanza express her emotions in this story differently than those she experienced in “A Rice Sandwich” or “Chanclas” and, if so, why?
21. “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark”
What is Esperanza’s relationship with her father?
How does this story develop Esperanza’s character?
22. “Born Bad”
What clues does this story provide about the roles of women and men in Esperanza’s community?
How does this story, like “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark,” evidence Esperanza’s character development?
23. “Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water”
Does the superstition expressed in this story conflict or coexist with any religious beliefs Esperanza may hold? With what tone does Esperanza describe her visit to Elenita?
24. “Geraldo No Last Name”
What is the significance of this being the last story in the book in which Marin is mentioned?
25. “Edna’s Ruthie”
What does Esperanza learn from Ruthie’s experience that helps her formulate goals?
26. “The Earl of Tennessee”
What does Esperanza learn from Earl that might help her formulate goals?
How has Esperanza’s awareness of her own sexuality evolved from “Hips” to this story? How have her imagination and her desires moved away from her negative sexual experience in “My First Job”?
28. “Four Skinny Trees”
What do the trees symbolize? What does Esperanza impose of her own character on the trees, and what does she take from the trees?
How do the trees compare to the clouds in “Darius & the Clouds”?
29. “No Speak English”
What does Esperanza tell us about her community’s attitude towards non-Mexican Americans? What about the image that the non-Latinos have of the Latinos? How do these views help or hinder Esperanza in the formulation of her own personal identity?
30. “Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays”
What conflicting needs or desires of Esperanza’s does her description of Rafaela’s situation convey?
Compare the portrait of Sally to that of Marin in “Marin.” How is Esperanza’s relationship with Sally different?
33. “Minerva Writes Poems”
With what tone is Esperanza’s plaintive “There is nothing I can do” conveyed? [p. 85]
34. “Bums in the Attic”
Why does Esperanza wish to house “bums” in her attic?
35. “Beautiful & Cruel”
Does Esperanza reconcile the images of herself as “ugly” [p. 88] and “beautiful and cruel,” and what does each self-image imply about her future?
36. “A Smart Cookie”
What does Esperanza learn from her mother in this story, and how might their relationship be characterized?
37. “What Sally Said”
With what tone does Esperanza convey the violence Sally suffers? How does this tone convey her attitude toward abuse? Has Esperanza’s attitude changed from the earlier stories? Compare Esperanza’s family’s response toward this abuse with how the community reacts toward domestic violence and abuse in general.
38. “The Monkey Garden”
What is the nature of Sally’s and Esperanza’s friendship?
Can Esperanza ever recover what she lost in the monkey garden?
What does the monkey garden symbolize?
39. “Red Clowns”
What does Esperanza lose in “Red Clowns,” and how does it compare to her loss in “The Monkey Garden”?
What clues does Cisneros provide the reader about the precise nature of the assault on Esperanza?
40. “Linoleum Roses”
How and why has Esperanza’s tone toward Sally changed?
41. “The Three Sisters”
In what way do the Sisters provide the decisive turning point for Esperanza?
How does Esperanza’s community fit into her vision of her own future?
42. “Alicia & I Talking on Edna’s Steps”
What is the significance of the fact that the only lasting friendship Esperanza seems to have is with Alicia?
43. “A House of My Own”
How does Esperanza’s dream house in this story and in “Bums in the Attic” differ from Sally’s dream house in “Linoleum Roses”?
How does Cisneros utilize the recurring image of a house as a metaphor to tie her stories together thematically and structurally? Is the house a positive or negative image? What does it alternatively preserve or imprison within its walls, and what does it keep out? How is Esperanza’s house on Mango Street alike or different from the other houses portrayed in the stories? [See, e.g., “Meme Ortiz”]
44. “Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes”
Why must Mango say goodbye to Esperanza, and not vice versa? Why is Mango Street personified as a “she”?
Might Esperanza’s view of her own name have changed at this point, and, if so, how might she describe it?
For discussion of THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET
1. From the beginning, Esperanza senses she does not want to end up inheriting her great-grandmother’s “place by the window . . . the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow” [“My Name” p. 11]. How does Esperanza emotionally and physically separate herself from the other women: Marin, Sally, Rafaela, Minerva, or Ruthie? Will her solution in “Beautiful & Cruel” [“I am one who leaves the table like a man, without putting back the chair or picking up the plate” p. 89] be an effective one? How is her self-esteem formed, and how does it evolve over the course of the novel? What obstacles will Esperanza have to overcome, and what battles will she have to fight as she carves a future for herself?
2. Can or should The House on Mango Street be categorized as a coming-of-age novel, or is it more complex than that?
3. How do the children who inhabit Mango Street become the men and women portrayed in the novel? For instance, what circumstances explain how the Vargas children, Meme Ortiz, the girls Esperanza plays with, and her own sisters grow into the adults of Mango street such as Esperanza’s parents, the husbands and fathers in the neighborhood, the young wives, and the older single adults such as Earl and Ruthie? Is the children’s fate inevitable? How does Esperanza set an example for how they can shape their own futures?
4. If you have some knowledge of the history of Chicanos in America–how they arrived here and their place in society, how does The House on Mango Street reflect this history? How is the Chicanos’ treatment in society–i.e., their systematic exclusion–alike or different from that of other minority groups?
5. Given that the narrator is a young female, how does Cisneros make Esperanza and her stories accessible to older and/or male readers? Does Esperanza’s youth affect her telling of the story and her reliability as a narrator? Is there a universal message about one’s identity that transcends Esperanza’s individual experience?
6. Cisneros’s prose has been described as “poetic”* and “lyrical.”** What characteristics of the stories made these critics choose these descriptive words? What other words might be used to describe the selections in The House on Mango Street and why? Are the selections in The House on Mango Street most aptly labeled (a) stories, (b) sketches, (c) vignettes, or (d) poems, and what characteristics make them one or the other? How does Cisneros make the collection of sketches or stories work together as a book structurally and thematically?
* “Voices of Sadness & Science” by Gary Soto, The Bloomsbury Review, Vol. 8, No. 4, July—August, 1988, p. 21.
** “In Search of Identity in Cisneros’ The House on Mango Street” by Maria Elena de Valdés, The Canadian Review of American Studies, Vol. 23, No. 1, Fall, 1992, pp. 55—72.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
This book was first introduced to me in college. I loved it then and I love it now. The style that Cisneros uses in this book is amazing. I would recommend this book for anyone. I also plan on teaching this book in my classroom in the coming years.
In The House on Mango Street Esperanza, a 12 year old girl, tells her tale in short vignettes. She tells us what it is like to grow up in a neighborhood that is poverty-ridden. Esperanza tried to not be afraid of the neighborhood that she was confined to, but at times I could tell how scared she was. All she wanted was out and to make something of herself. This is an intricate coming of age tale. One that you have to analyze before you can understand it as a whole.
The author, Sandra Cisneros, tried to sound like an authentic 12 year old girl. In my opinion, she tried a bit too hard and it showed. However, once I was able to get over the initial shock of the writing style and into the story, it was rather interesting. Another thing that caught my eye about this book is that most everyone can identify with it. Most people have had to overcome struggles in their lives; some similar to Esperanza¿s and some not. But, overall we have to learn how to overcome them. When Esperanza finally figured out how to overcome her struggles I felt happy for her. However, I was disappointed because it seemed so obvious from the beginning of the book what conclusion she was going to come to.
Esperanza¿s personality was very interesting for me as the reader. This 12 year old seemed so self centered and superficial at times, I literally wanted to jump out of my seat and tell her to, ¿Knock it off.¿ (I refrained from doing so.) On the other hand, all of the other characters in the book were flat, as if they did not matter. I think they all needed more of a background; afterall they helped shape her into who she turned out to be at the end of the book. The plot was dull and hardly present. The book jumped around with each vignette and it was easy to stop caring about the book when it had no real plot. The setting was the most interesting for me as the reader. It drew me in during the first vignette. However, it never went into great depth about the setting. That was a major disappointment. I lost a lot of interest in the book once I realized that the author was not going to have the main character focus on the setting throughout the book.
Overall, I really needed to analyze the book afterward to draw a conclusion about how I felt about it. That conclusion is that it had no effect on my life; it did not move me to change my actions or to re-think my life like so many books do. It was an okay book but not awe inspiring for me. I would not recommend this book. There are many other books that are written better, on this same subject. I would recommend that you go read one of them instead.
I read this book in sixth grade to me it is the most amazing book i have read. It is because some girls/women go through these things in life and since i was in an pre A.P reading class our teacher made us understand it and i was so sad in the bu tit is a beutiful book overall
The House on Mango Street is about Esperanza, a Chicana Mexican-American girl, who is about twelve years old when the story begins. During the year, she moves with her family into a house on Mango Street. The house is a big differance from the family's previous apartment, and it is the first home her parents actually own. However, the house is not what Esperanza has dreamed of, because it is run-down and small. The house is in the center of a crowded Latino neighborhood in Chicago, a city where many of the poor areas are racially segregated. Esperanza does not have any privacy, and she tells herself frequently that she will someday leave Mango Street and have a house all her own. After moving to the house, Esperanza quickly meets Lucy and Rachel, two Chicana girls who stay across the street. Lucy, Rachel, Esperanza, and Esperanza's little sister, Nenny, have many adventures in the small space of their neighborhood. They buy a bike, learn about boys from a young woman named Marin and they explore a junk shop, and have intimate conversations while playing Double Dutch. The girls are on the brink of puberty and sometimes find themselves vulnerable sexually, such as when they walk around their neighborhood in shoes that are for older women or when Esperanza is kissed by an older man at her first job. During the first half of the year, the girls are content to live and play in their child's world. At school, Esperanza feels ashamed about her family's poverty and her difficult-to-pronounce her name. She secretly writes poems that she shares only with older women she trusts. Over the summer, Esperanza slips into puberty. She suddenly likes it when boys watch her dance, and she enjoys dreaming about them. Esperanza's newfound sexual maturity, combined with the death of two of her family members, her grandfather and her Aunt Lupe, bring her closer to the world of adults. She begins to closely watch the women in her neighborhood. This second half of The House on Mango Street presents a string of stories about older women in the neighborhood, all of whom are even more stuck in their situations and, quite literally, in their houses, than Esperanza is. Meanwhile, during the beginning of the following school year, Esperanza befriends Sally, a girl her age who is more sexually mature than Lucy or Rachel. Sally, meanwhile, has her own agenda. She uses boys and men as an escape route from her abusive father. Esperanza is not completely comfortable with Sally's sexual experience, and their friendship results in a crisis when Sally leaves Esperanza alone, and a group of boys sexually assaults Esperanza in her absence. Esperanza's bad experiences as Sally's friend, and her detailed observations of the older women in her neighborhood, create her desire to escape Mango Street and to have her own house. When Esperanza finds herself emotionally ready to leave her neighborhood, however, she discovers that she will never fully be able to leave Mango Street behind, and after she leaves she'll have to return to help the women she has left. At the end of the year, Esperanza remains on Mango Street, but she has matured extensively. She has a stronger desire to leave and understands that writing will help her put distance between herself and her situation. Though for now writing helps her escape only emotionally, in the future it may help her to escape physically as well. In conclusion, I would recommend this book about a young strong chicana girl.
The house on mango street is a amazing book for young readers, It tells you about the hard life of being a person of different color in a place where most things are falling apart and technically you have the worst life you could ever have.
And it tells you about how to cope with the death of others and how to deal with ghetto and everything else, Other then that, This book is to teach kids about what the REAL ghetto is like, and Based on the content.. I would like to read this book again, But it was confusing cause she wrote it...Weirdly, But it's a touching book and it has alot of originality and a unique writing style.
I am an English teacher and I had my summer students read this book. They absolutely loved it. The book is written in a series of vingnettes which can make the book confusing at first. However, a little research on what a vingnette is and you're on your way. This book would be an excellent choice for a Senior Class Project/Graduation Project too. Students could do a research project on hispanic culture, etc. and then write their own series of vingnettes and turn it into a book.
Have you ever been a person that has to move on in life for the good or bad? Well this novel I have to say is a excellent novel to read for thoses who move alot and faces different things in the world.This Novel is about a young girl name Esperanza. Esperanza has moved through quite a few houses and she always wanted to live in a real home or perhaps say a dream house. In this novel she faces different relationships with people. She always expresses her emotions and what she goes through and see whats reality in her eyes.She goes through what teenagers are going through now and days.Like for example relationships with friends.Have you asked your self whos really your friend or whos really just using you.I think the author is trying to say is no matter who you are or what you do you can be someone.The author does a good job explaining when Esperanza tells her emotions.What would catch your attention about the novel is the description of every person she sees.So if you like a novel that discribes facing reality then this is the novel for you.
i reacted to this book in a positive way because it showed me how new kids feel when they are new in a whole different town and school. Also it showed me that where you live doesnt describe who you realyl are in the inside and out.This book is mainly about a girl name by Esperanza and she really didn't like the new town she moved in. She moved near the city of Chicago. The street named by Mango Street. She thinks that in Mango street she can find her own identity. The book is mainly short stories about her family and her. she talks about her life expirences in Mango Street. She meets new people. Even though the people she met are her friends she thinks that she doesn't fit in with anyone.
I read The House on Mango Street in my class and I thought that it was okay. It is definitely not the best book I have ever read but I still enjoyed it, like I do most books I read. The House on Mango Street is a very interesting book about a girl named Esperanza living in the Latino part of Chicago. Esperanza is the oldest in her family of four children and has moved around a lot with her family in many different places. The last place that they move to is Mango Street where Esperanza feels she does not belong.
I think that this book was really interesting because of the way it portrays what it was like then and the things people had to go through. One of the chapters/stories that was interesting to me is called ¿Those Who Don¿t¿ this chapter talks about how a lot of people come in their neighborhood scared and how everyone in their neighborhood is a community because they all know each other and stick up for each other. This chapter also kind of talks about the racism because people are afraid of them and it says that it is kind of the same when they go into a neighborhood of a different color.
In this book the thing I probably like best is Esperanza herself. She is a very creative and strong person who likes to make friends and is always standing up for them no matter what. Through the book Esperanza talks about how she feels like she does not belong in her neighborhood and is always saying how she will leave Mango Street someday. Esperanza is very creative and a very good writer especially poetry, and I think it¿s neat because she uses her writing to escape, in a way. One of my most favorite things in the book is how it says that one day she will escape from Mango Street, but she will come back for the ones she loves who cannot get out.
Overall I think that this book was pretty good. It was not the best book I¿ve read, but I liked it. Though some of the things in the book were kind of disturbing, a lot of things were very realistic and interesting to read. I would recommend this book to someone who wants something easy and very interesting to read.
The House on Mango Street is a book of beginnings with many excellent themes. It is written in a journalistic style which can be hard to follow but is also an excellent style because of the way it sweeps you up into the story. Written from the point of view of Esperanza Cordero, it tells about what it is like to grow up in the slums of Chicago, which Esperanza dislikes very much, but she also enjoys the safety of living in an entirely Latino neighborhood. Esperanza takes you on her journey of adolescence: the friendships, the disappointments, the betrayals, the sorrow of losing a loved one and many more life lessons. One of the more subtle themes in this book is that teenagers always seek acceptance through friendship; hoping to make life happier or easier, or so that they will be more socially accepted.
One instance in which this theme shows is in the chapter Sally (P. 81) in which Esperanza meets/sees Sally for the first time. Esperanza, at first, wants to get to know Sally because she likes the way she dresses, the way she does her makeup, and the way she seems so confident. One quote that shows how she feels is this: ¿Sally is the girl with eyes like Egypt and nylons the color of smoke. The boys at school think she¿s beautiful because her hair is shiny black like raven feathers and when she laughs, she flicks her hair back like a satin shawl over her shoulders and laughs¿Sally, who taught you to paint your eyes like Cleopatra? And if I roll the little brush with my tongue and chew it to a point and dip it in the muddy cake, the one in the little red box, will you teach me? I like your black coat and those shoes you wear, where did you get them? My mother says to wear black so young is dangerous, but I want to buy shoes just like yours, like your black ones made out of suede, just like those. And one day, when my mother¿s in a good mood, maybe after my next birthday, I¿m going to ask to buy the nylons too.¿
I enjoyed the book The House on Mango Street especially because I love stories that just pull me right in and don¿t let me go until they are finished and it does just that. It is great for all ages, older or the same age as Esperanza, it is a reliving of the things that go on all the time: friendships, disappointments, gaining loved ones and losing them, all the life lessons. The House on Mango Street is a great book and anyone who doesn¿t read it will be missing out.
In the Story, “The House On Mango Street,” written by Sandra Cisneros, you follow a girl named Esperanza through a series of mini stories about her family, neighborhood, dreams, and friends. Esperanza moves around a lot growing up so when they move to a small house on Mango Street in a very poor neighborhood, it wasn't a surprise. She makes friends, develops her first crush, endures sexual assault, begins to write as a way of expressing herself as a way to escape the neighborhood, and is forced to grow up very quickly. Even when she moves away, Mango Street and it’s memories that haunt her will never leave. I feel the plot was very well developed and played out smoothly. Each story showed Esperanza's character develop and mature. She learned and took example from the things around her and the elders she looked up to. Although there were many different themes to this novel, I feel the most important one is if you dream of something and work your hardest for it, you don't need anyone else to achieve it. Esperanza wanted so badly to be more than that poor child that lives on that horrible street. I feel the story would have been better if it was one whole story line instead of choppy stories that often did not relate or tie in together. In the story there were many characters that differed from each other. They all well represented the kind of people in this kind of environment. They all influenced Esperanza in some way and taught her things. Some of these characters were obviously not very kind hearted people which really shows the reality of our society. Overall, I think this book is very engaging and impressive. It shows the life of a little girl who goes through very tough times and is taught very important lessons. By Marissa B.
Had forgotten about this, until I saw someone reading this for school. Then I started remembering a little bit of this, mostly for the cover. Had read this for school and sort of remember what it was about. Sort of.
I hated this book. It was awful. I would not suggest this book to anyone. It didn't make sense and it was NOT written well. I would suggest books like Life of Pi or Star Girl. This was one of the worst books I've ever read and unfortunately I've read Twilight.
This is quite possibly one of the worst books that i have ever read. There is no linear thought in this horrible novel. I would not reccomend this book to anyone.
I have not finished this book yet but so far it is amazing! I am one of those people who are not a big fan of reading but this book is hitting the spot!
Love her straight forward approach. Also I can relate to her experiences
I found this book reallllllllllllllllllllllllly difficult to get into and resorted to reading the reading discussion guide published by Random House to be much more successful in getting the entire point of this work. If needing to read for a class etc. the reading guides that are published will get you to what you need.
The House on Mango Street is a book that will have you interested throughout the story. The book is about a girl named Esperanza, she tells multiple stories of people she meets on Mango Street. The stories she tells are mostly stories about her experiences on Mango Street and this is the only place she would like to tell stories about. Of all the people she meets she finds a story to tell about each and every person she sees or lives around. The neighborhood of Mango Street is a Latino environment that suits Esperanza’s heritage and community. Everyone that she meets throughout Mango Street is Latinos and they all are struggling with reality as well. Esperanza’s house on Mango Street is her family’s first house they have ever owned since she was little but she always thought her first house would always be better and much bigger. She starts to get her hopes and dreams up about having a house of her own and throughout the book she will remind you constantly of her dreams. She never gives up in the book even through the worst experiences; she just writes and writes to feel free. There are a couple of stories in the book that caught my attention like on page 28, “Those Who Don’t.” This short story gives you a little about the neighborhood she is living in on Mango Street. She tells the readers about the people who come into our neighborhood who is scared to even have noticed they have gotten lost in the Latino part of Chicago. She states that she knows everyone very well in her neighborhood but the people who are lost don’t know anyone and they think ‘were going to attack them with shiny knives.’ She says ‘were all brown all around, we are safe’ stating that everyone in her neighborhood are the same color and don’t have to worry about any one coming into their neighborhood making them feel uncomfortable. It’s funny how she is using a vice versa statement saying that if she were to go into a neighborhood full of other nationalities she would be scared also because she would be the only brown person in their neighborhood. One short story I absolutely love is on page 74 and it is called ‘Four Skinny Trees.’ The reason why I love this short story is because she compares herself to the four skinny trees outside. She believe they are the only ones in the story who understand, she says this because these are trees that were planted there by the city but do not want to be there. In her comparison she believes she’s only here because she has to be here but in the back of her mind she doesn’t want to be on Mango Street at all. She compares the trees are holding onto Mango Street with their ‘ferocious roots’ and she feels the same way, she feels like she’s just been planted onto Mango Street and can’t grow or live because she’s stuck there and even if she left she will always remember Mango Street. She will always remember where she got stuck and planted and she will always have to return because that’s where she grew up and she felt as if the four skinny trees were just like her. The House on Mango Street is a book I really enjoyed; I can’t deny that it’s not a good book because it caught my attention all around. The book itself has a lot of culture and creativity to it, it has a bit of excitement and stories that will just make you smile. I believe this is one of my favorite books because it relates to real people in the world, I can imagine at least one or two people in the book who remind me of someone in real life. In my opinion this book is a keeper and a book to pass on to your kids when they are old enough to understand what is going on in the real world. A lot could have been taught with this one book, being a teen, poverty, sexual assault, admirers, and growing up. It teaches you the difference of people all around the world and that is one thing that is so stunning about the book.
"The House on Mango Street" Review There is nothing wrong with this book. It is well developed, as interesting characters and you it is a very small book (which can be good or bad). This story has very short chapters, some even a page long. But because the chapters are so short the story is always introducing you to new characters and keeping you pretty well entertained. This book is definitely not an action filled book. Actually most of the time you are just reading about friends a certain character in the book makes. This book does however show you what life is like for some people (that is if you have never lived in a very poor and Hispanic filled neighborhood). After reading this book you do feel like you learned something new about a part of peoples lives that you might not have particularly known about. If you are looking for something different to read, something maybe informative, and something that’s not exactly too exciting that I would recommend this book.
I was required to read this book in eighth grade. Some content might have been slightly inappropriate for that age; however, the writing style the author used, along with the plot of this novella, are unforgettable. I absolutely love this book. Hopefully, I will be buying my own copy soon.
I read this book for my English class this term because I was required to read a text on the AP reading level. I have heard that this book is very well written and a good read. But after reading it for myself, I think otherwise. I think what Sandra Cisneros, the author, is trying to portray in this novel is the struggles of life; but more in depth, the challenges of a girl from a poor family that knows that later in life, she can be in a better economic position than where she is now. The chapters in this book are very short, and so is the book itself. This book was very hard to understand for me personally so it is a more difficult book to read. Some of the chapters in this book are not even needed in the story. They are just there and make no sense and aren't even relevant to the message that I believe the story is trying to portray. The main character in this story, named Esperanza, is a young girl from a large Latino family living in a rundown part of Chicago, Illinois. The family has moved around for some time and has now moved to Mango Street. Many different things happen on Mango Street, but it's not to Esperanza's liking. She wants a big house of her own on a hillside. Because rich people, in her vision, live on large hillsides. She reminds me of those people that grow up in horrible conditions or predicaments but defy all the odds placed against them and they succeed when everyone thought it was impossible for them. Esperanza shows incredible amounts of human potential and is most definitely going to use it to better her life. But the way Sandra Cisneros uses her words to write the story is extremely difficult to understand. One of the reasons the text is so hard to understand is because she has different parts of the story all in different places in the book so the story doesn't flow very well as far as a timeline would go. I was also reading this book with my friend that is the same age as I and he thought the same way about the book as I did. If you don't have a large amount of time for reading and you are looking for a good little book to read, I do not recommend this book to you (or anyone else). This book has no exciting parts to it at all! The ending to this book does not sum up the story very well and just like the whole story, the ending is vague and hard to understand, not to mention boring as well. Honestly, I have no idea why this book would be on the AP reading level or how this book even gets sold! This book reminds me of abstract art. Some of that style of art sells for millions of dollars even though it looks like a baby created it, or it was a mistake. The book is unorganized, slow, and difficult to comprehend and read. If you're considering reading or buying this book it would not be the wisest decision you've ever made no matter who you are.
"The House on Mango Street" was a book about a young girl named Esperanza who constantly moved around. "We didn't always live on Mango Street...Before that we lived on Keeler...Before Keeler it was Paulina, and before that I can't remember...But what i remember most is moving a lot". The story took place when her and her family moved too a Latino area in Chicago. This book is written as if it were the diary of Esperanza because each chapter was just a quick story of something that happend, and it never really went into that much detail. The the story is about Esperanza wanting to make a good life for herself, better than the people who lived near by her in Chicago. Esperanza's mother told her, "I could've been somebody, you know? ... Esperanza, you go to school. Study hard". She wants to listen to her mother and learn from her mistake of not finishing school and make a good life for herself. The book consists of many events that happend told threw the eyes of Esperanza. It was hard to follow because it was jumpy at times. I did not like the way that the author wrote the book. The punctuation and wording of the book made it difficult to understand at some points. It was a slow read at first but once you get past the begining its an ok book.
Imagine moving again and again and again, from on slum neighborhood to the next. Each time you¿re told, `it¿s only temporary. It¿s just until things get better.¿, but life never gets better and you keep moving. Welcome to the world of Esperanza Cordero; a world conjured by author Sandra Cisneros. For my honors English class, I was told to read The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. At first I¿ll admit, I was a bit wary, but in the end, I found it to be an intriguing piece of true artwork that few could have accomplish.
There truly are a very limited number of individuals who can think, let alone write, from a child¿s perspective. Though, Sandra Cisneros¿ wit and childlike humor add an immensely entertaining twist to the melancholy tale of Esperanza Cordero; a young girl growing up in a harsh Latino Chicago neighborhood. At first, much of the story¿s focus is on Esperanza herself (her hopes, dreams, struggles, and desperate wish to belong to something better than Mango Street), but later, we witness Esperanza¿s struggle of understanding; of pushing out of her own mind and into that of the people around her. We see her asking more and more often, ¿why¿. ¿Why did we play that trick?¿, ¿Why didn¿t she say `no¿?¿, ¿Why did they come after me?¿, ¿Why did she stay with a guy she barely knew who had no last name?¿ etc. We witness her growing up and realizing that there is more involved with life than just what she can see, hear, and feel herself. She begins to understand that, while other people have great effects on her life, she alone holds the key to her future. I am a semi fast reader and was able to read it all in two shots. Once on a bus ride to a sporting event and the second time on the way coming home. It¿s quick, easy and relatable, but there¿s so much happening `behind the scenes¿ that I wouldn¿t recommend it to under 7th or 6th grade. I liked how simplistically complex (there¿s an oxymoron for you) Cisneros¿s writing is. Almost a modern day Hemmingway, she uses simple, easy, and short words but uses them to the best that each and every word can be. Yet you often have to look deeper and read between the lines to understand her full meaning. All in all, I¿d say House on Mango Street is worth reading. There¿s no other book like it.
Though, the only way to really understand is by reading the book yourself. Allow Cisneros to take you up on a realistic ride of compassion, understanding, humor, and coming of age in The House on Mango Street. You¿ll be glad that you did.
The House on Mango Street proved to be a tale of a young girl striving for a better life. Esperanza, a naïve Latino girl, lives with her family in a destitute community of people who have been held back by their lack of prosperity and background. She has never felt she belonged there and believes she can be something more. As she observes the lives those around her, examples of a prolonged, miserable existence, her caring heart goes out to them, wanting more not only for herself, but for the people of Mango Street.
Throughout the novel, the writer, Sandra Cisneros, conveys the entrapment of the people around Esperanza, particularly the women. The book points out certain characters who, each with their own obstacles to overcome, represent who Esperanza could become. A woman with children and a husband who left them penniless, a teenage girl who plans to run away and get married, just to get away from that place, a young wife locked indoors because of her husband¿s fears, all of which represent a life Esperanza could someday lead.
Her true rival, Mango Street, and all that it represents has captured the people and they now become the voice of Mango; the voice of the enemy. But Esperanza deeply desires to go away, to excel in her writing career and provide for herself. Her immaturity does not shield her from the effects of Mango Street, but rather pulls her into situations where she experiences it far more personally.
As for the novel itself, it is a quick read and fairly easy to understand. Cisneros writes in an unusual form, and the true meaning of the book is not always clearly conveyed. Upon further pondering, the deeper intentions of the book are pretty apparent. It is written in first person, Esperanza being the one speaking, and if you focus on the fact that it is the voice of a silly young girl, the writing will seem less discounted. The novel is definitely not one meant to be read then forgotten, but thought about and carefully considered for the deeper implications.
The conclusion of the novel was quite strong, with just the right amount of closure as well as curiosity about how Esperanza¿s life turns out. While the reader hopes for the best for this young girl, the sad truth is that despite her dreams and aspirations, and regardless of the sense of disconnection she feels from the place, it may become more of a part of her than she had ever intended. All that said, I would not necessarily recommend the book, but reading it might prove as a necessary stretch of the mind if placed in the right hands.
Esperanza Cordero tells the story of her life growing up in one of Chicago¿s Hispanic neighborhoods. She uses short vignettes and poetry to paint a picture of a run-down neighborhood that is still full of hope and dreams. The stories are narrated in the first person ("I"), giving the reader an intimate glimpse of the girl's outlook on the world. It is this singular voice that makes the book so special. The cadence and syntax suggest the Spanish language that the narrator also speaks. Because the book uses short vignettes to tell Esperanza¿s story, much of the plot details must be inferred from context clues. The book is full of interesting characters, from the street friends who are bought for five dollars to the older girls who give Esperanza insight into what her life could be like. The least sympathetic characters are the school personnel who staff the Catholic schools in which Esperanza is enrolled. Esperanza¿s perception of these adults gives the reader insight into how the poor are treated by society. This novel functions as a bildungsroman, revealing one girl¿s experience of growing up. The language is simple enough for middle school readers, but its subject matter is often bleak. In addition, adult themes require that this book is recommended and taught with caution.