Thursday, November 10, 2011

The House on Mango Street

Cisneros, Sandra.  The House on Mango Street.  New York: Vintage Books, 1984.  Print.


1985 Before Columbus American Book Award


Esperanza describes growing up in a Latino section of Chicago and living in a run-down house on Mango Street, while hoping and working hard to have a better life.


What would you do if you felt you were trapped by the place where you living?  If you wanted a real house, but got a temporary one instead?  If you felt like you were “a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor”?  Esperanza feels like Mango Street is holding her back.  She doesn’t have a best friend, she only has her sister Nenny but she’s annoying most of the time.  She doesn’t have a real house, the kind her family always dreamed of buying with a staircase on the inside.  Instead, she has the small red one on Mango Street where the bricks are crumbling and the front door sticks.  She wants new shoes; she wants a new name; and later, she wants a new job.  Despite all of this, Esperanza knows that the street is teaching her valuable lessons and it is in this house that she transforms from a little girl into a woman. 

Different from other novels, Esperanza tells her growing-up tale in The House on Mango Street in short chapters, or vignettes, each one their own complete story.  Take the journey along with her and find out if she ever leaves that little, red, falling-apart house behind, trading it in for a dream home: “quiet as snow, a space for [her]self to go, clean as paper before the poem”.

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