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The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street


Essential Questions
1. What role does our
family, culture, and
community play in
shaping us?
1. How can reading one
womans story of selfacceptance and
purpose help us find
our own while telling it
in an honest, authentic
voice?
1. How can a writer use
creative writing
techniques to express
point of view and voice?

About Sandra Cisneros


Born: Chicago in l954
the third child and only
daughter in a family of
seven children.
Occupations: teacher
and counselor to highschool dropouts,
taught creative writing
at every level except
first grade and preschool, a college
recruiter, an arts
administrator, and as
a visiting writer

Growing Up in Chicago

Born in the Hispanic Quarter of


Chicago in 1954
Mexican-American (Chicana)
She was the only girl in a family of
seven, and grew up in poverty
Her parents emphasized education
Her family moved often; she was shy
and introverted, but connected with her
community privately through writing
http://www.galegroup.com/free_resources/
chh/bio/cisneros_s.htm
http://www.sandracisneros.com/html/abou
t/bio.html

What is a Vignette?
A short, well written sketch or descriptive
scene.
It does not have a plot which would make it a
short story, but it does reveal something about
the elements in it.
It may reveal character, mood, or tone.
It may have a theme or idea of its own that it wants to
convey.
It is the description of the scene or character that is
important.
By linking these vignettes, Cisneros attempts to reveal
the life of a young girl, a daughter of Mexican
immigrants, growing up in the inner city of the United
States.

The House on Mango Street: Structure

The novel is told as a series of


vignettes, 1-4 pages each

There is no real chronological plot, but


a series of insights into Esperanzas
thoughts and feelings.

The vignettes show the trends in


behavior in the community and
provide a contrast between strength
and weakness, between freedom and
bondage.

The novel is dedicated A Las Mujeres,


To the Women.

Structure of
Vignettes

1-39Introduces narrator
and establishes setting
43-70Esperanza
describes the world beyond
Mango St. Despites
disappointments, she
enjoys life.
72-84Focus on Esperanza
and the people around her;
portraits of other women
emerge.
86-90Esperanza
describes her family & her
interactions with them.

92-101Esperanza
continues to dream and
mature& the progression
with Sally (note
juxtaposition)
103-109Return to Mango
Street & home as the subject
of Esperanzas thoughts.
Based on these
abstractions, what might
be the thread (thesis)
that holds these beads
(vignettes) together?

The House on Mango Street: Narrator

The work is narrated by Esperanza Cordero,


thirteen, a Chicana girl in Chicago.

Although told in the voice of a young girl, it


addresses mature subject matter.

In English, Esperanza means hope, and also,


waiting.

This choice of name is significant in the novel:


the character and her independence represent
a way out of the slums.

As she watches her neighborhood, she decides


that she will not become like the women she
knows, trapped and powerless in a mans
world.

The House on Mango Street:


Setting

Mango Street symbolizes both Esperanzas ball and chain and her
inspiration.

In the beginning of the novel, she is disappointed with the house on


Mango Street.

She finds that she is not like the other residents of Mango, that she
can and will find the strength to leave her life there.

She realizes that Mango is a part of her, and where she comes from is
as important as where shes going.

She knows she must come back, to help the others who are trapped
there.

Cisneross writing is very imagistic. She makes unexpected


comparisons between things to give connotations to what she
describes.

The House on Mango Street


Themes
1. Individual identity
and communal
loyalty
2. Estrangement and
loss
3. Escape and return
4. Lure of romance
and the dead end
of sexual
inequality &
oppression

Otherness
Mango suggests
from where that
otherness comes
and shows how it
can become a
cause for
celebration rather
than shame.

You, the reader, are


Esperanzayou
cannot forget who
you are.
-Sandra
Cisneros

The House on Mango Street: Significance


This is Cisneross first novel.
It is a way to relate her cultural
identity to her life and the lives of
others.
Cisneros seeks to break the cycle
of defeats that women suffered
due to social and religious
stereotypes.
Esperanza is an outlet for the
authors views on the perceptions
of women in her milieu.

Life Lesson According to


Cisneros
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.

The world does not love


you the way you are loved
at home.
Pain gives you a special
visiona vision to help
others who are suffering.
Horrible experiences are
there to guide you.
Welcome rage, shame, and
grief especially if you have
a reason to feel them.
Humility is essential to
finding your voice and
hearing others.

The House on Mango Street: Characters

Alicia, the medical student who is still bound to her old fears.

Marin, who waits.

Beautiful Rafaela, the modern-day Rapunzel.

Rosa Vargas, with too many children, crying for the husband who
left.

Mamacita, who dreams of the pink house she left behind and refuses
to speak English.

Sally, the subject of abuse until she marries, to escape, before eighth
grade, and moves from Mango Street into into another sort of trap.

And then there is Esperanza, who is like the skinny trees outside her
tiny window, who longs for a house all her own, who starts her own
quiet war.

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