The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (A Lively Learning Guide by Shmoop)
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the beautiful houses and dream of what it would be like to be rich. Esperanza stops going with her family, because she's ashamed to be staring out the window at things she can't have. Esperanza thinks the people who live on the hill live so close to the stars they've forgotten what it's like to live close to the earth, like she does. She vows that when she's rich, she won't forget where she came from. When passing bums ask for a place to stay, she will offer them her attic. Chapter 35
Cisneros explains that "she wants the writers she admires to respect her work, but she also wants people who don't usually read books to enjoy these stories too" (Introduction.19). In other words, the way Cisneros sees it, literature isn't an exclusive club. It's something that everyone should be able to enjoy, even those people who don't have much experience with reading literature because they're young or because they are busy working for a living. But just because her writing is easy to
Documents An article from The New York Times discusses Cisneros's views on the matter. "What's the Problem with 'Hispanic'? Just Ask a 'Latino'" What happens when Sandra Cisneros hears you refer to her as Hispanic? Read this Washington Post article to find out (reprinted in The Seattle Times, August 26, 2003). "Hispanic or Latino?" Chicago Public Libraries encouraged the entire city to read The House on Mango Street at the same time as part of their citywide book club. And you thought
this sudden revelation. And afterwards, "the garden that had been such a good place to play" doesn't seem to belong to her anymore (38.24). Setting Mango Street, in a low-income Latino neighborhood of Chicago The setting is central to The House on Mango Street - after all, it's even mentioned in the title. Esperanza and her family have just moved to a poor, mostly Latino neighborhood in a city that's commonly understood to be Chicago, the author's hometown. A few contextual clues, like
Dangerous Minds without the Michelle Pfeiffer character. (Cue Coolio.) Autobiography? Check. Oh, and she's going through those difficult teenage years and learning about what it means to be an adult, so it's definitely a coming-of-age story, too. Book Summary/Plot Overview Esperanza is a little girl who moves with her family to a house on Mango Street. It's a small, crumbling red house in a poor urban neighborhood - not at all what Esperanza had been hoping for when her parents promised