House on. Mango. Street. Sandra Cisneros. VINTAGE CONTEMPORARIES. Vintage Books. A Division of Random House, Inc. New York. By the time we got to Mango Street we were six-Mama,. Papa The house on Mango Street is ours, and we don't have to pay rent to . 10 Sandra Cisneros. Bloom'sGUIDES Sandra Cisneros'sThe House on Mango Street Currently Available The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn A Size Report. DOWNLOAD PDF.
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Street isn't it. For the time being, Mama says. Temporary, says Papa. But I know how those things go. 4 Sandra Cisneros. The House on Mango Street 5. In hardcover for the first time--on the tenth anniversary of its initial publication--the greatly admired and bestselling book about a young girl growing. A Rice Sandwich by Sandra Cisneros LITERARY FOCUS: THE NARRATOR A narrator is the teller of a story. When you begin reading a story, look for clues.
Apr 03, Pages download. Apr 26, Pages download. Apr 30, Pages download. Aug 30, Minutes download. Apr 03, Pages. Apr 26, Pages. Apr 30, Pages. Aug 30, Minutes. 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. Few other books in our time have touched so many readers. In hardcover for the first time—on the tenth anniversary of its initial publication—the greatly admired and bestselling book about a young girl growing up in the Latino section of Chicago.
Sometimes heartbreaking, sometimes deeply joyous, this novel depicts a new American landscape through its multiple characters. Sandra Cisneros is a poet, short story writer, novelist and essayist whose work explores the lives of the working-class. This little book has made a great space for itself on the shelf of American literature. And lucky future readers. This funny, beautiful book will always be with us.
She is not only a gifted writer, but an absolutely essential one. She communicates all the rapture and rage of growing up in a modern world. Like the best of poetry, it opens the windows of the heart without a wasted word. Her work is sensitive, alert, nuanceful. Join Reader Rewards and earn your way to a free book! Join Reader Rewards and earn points when you download this book from your favorite retailer.
Read An Excerpt. When the book first appeared in print, critics were generally positive about the authentic voice, the attention to detail, the music of the language, and the sheer impact of the comingof-age story. Still, some critics took exception to her portrayal of men, claiming that it was too generalized, portraying them all as predatory and dangerous.
Others claimed that the book was particularly insulting to 13 Chicano men and destructive to their already compromised, often overtly biased portrayal in the mass media. Despite its critics, Cisneros and her book have enjoyed much success. The fact that it is read in high school and college courses and enjoys a popular following attests to its wide appeal. Although the book was originally published by a small press, Arte Publico, Random House eventually opted to acquire the publishing rights.
The move, six years after its initial publication, from a small press to a worldwide publishing conglomerate, suggests that The House on Mango Street has earned its place among the best contemporary coming-of-age novels. She dreams throughout the narrative for a house of her own which she eventually realizes will be achieved through writing. Throughout the novel, Esperanza feels increasingly separated from her younger sister, due to her own maturation. Her sister is also the only person with whom Esperanza shares an intimate understanding of what it means to live in Mexico, thereby reinforcing her close ties to family.
Mama is an accomplished and talented woman who chooses to leave school because she does not consider her clothes nice enough to wear in public. As a result of her regret, she urges Esperanza to embrace education and learn all she can so that she will not be dependent or feel trapped. Papa is a gardener for the wealthy. Esperanza often defines him by what he allows and does not allow her to do. They communicate with their sisters inside the house, but outside they ignore them, maintaining the gender power divisions of the neighborhood.
Cathy is a neighborhood girl who befriends Esperanza for a week before her family moves to a more affluent neighborhood. Her brief presence in the story reinforces the transient nature of the barrio and the socioeconomic stratification between the various ethnic groups. Lucy and Rachel are girls from Texas who befriend Esperanza and with whom she downloads a share in a bike.
With them, 15 Esperanza comes of age, reinforcing the idea that for Chicanas the experience of acculturation is communal. His broken arms suggest that few can escape the barrio. She emerges as one representative of the Chicana female—beautiful but stuck in the house babysitting. Her sexual power is muted by the men of her family; nonetheless it is also the only means by which she might escape her current life.
She must barter her body for marriage in order to escape the barrio. Through her, Esperanza gains greater awareness of the ways in which her gender can empower or imprison her. Rose Vargas is a woman with too many ill-behaved children. She is another victim of the patriarchal system in Chicano culture. Alicia is an older girl in the neighborhood who attends college as a way to escape her life as surrogate mother and wife after the death of her mother. She provides a positive role model for Esperanza as she has found a way out of the barrio through education.
Darius is a bully who picks on girls and skips school. He does, however, say something profound that Esperanza will 16 remember for the rest of her life. Sadly, Lupe has been stricken by an illness that eventually kills her.
She urges Esperanza to never stop writing. Geraldo is the young man who is killed by a hit-and-run accident while Marin is with him. For Esperanza, Geraldo becomes a symbol of the way in which identity is lost between Mexico and the United States.
He belongs to no country, and no one claims him when he dies. Ruthie lives with her mother, Edna, who owns the large building next door to Esperanza. She comes to live with her mother after her marriage fails. It is unclear whether marriage caused her childlike mental state or whether her mental state caused the dissolution of the marriage.
Esperanza befriends her, showing her compassion and commitment to the disenfranchised. Sire is a neighborhood boy who has romantic feelings for the maturing Esperanza. Mamacita is the large, beautiful, Mexican woman who moves into the neighborhood. She is bereft at having to leave her country, and Esperanza empathizes with her feelings of dislocation and her powerlessness in controlling what happens to her.
She leans out her window dreaming of another life and becomes for Esperanza an example of how some men imprison women to control and suppress their sexual power.
Minerva is a young woman, only a little older than the adolescent Esperanza, who has two children and a husband who beats her. Minerva and Esperanza share their poetry with each other. She serves a cautionary function in the book, reinforcing the idea that sometimes marriage is not an escape but a potential prison.
The Three Sisters are elderly aunts of Lucy and Rachel. They tell Esperanza that she will escape from the barrio but that she must return for the others who cannot leave. In doing so, she also acknowledges that a large part of her struggle for identity in the barrio was driven by issues of gender. Cisneros chooses to tell the story in a series of vignettes that occupy their own liminal space.
The stories resist assignation to a particular form, floating comfortably between prose poetry, the novel, and journal writing. In many ways, resistance forms the core of the book.
Cisneros chooses to use the voice of a child in the throes of puberty to tell her story. This is a savvy choice, allowing Esperanza to observe without passing judgment. Readers, therefore, bring their own cultural associations to the significant details Esperanza presents. The book opens with a chapter of the same name, setting the scene early and offering information that contextualizes the house and its significance to the family.
Her parents have little choice in what they download due to a meager budget and a compelling impetus to move. Esperanza recalls feeling ashamed from an incident in the past when a nun asked her to point her home out in their former neighberhood on Loomis Street. A real house.
One I could point to.
Esperanza realizes that her family will never be able to provide more than the temporary houses in which they have been living. This reinforces her desire and drive to eventually own a respectable home of her own. Within this first chapter, Esperanza immediately indicates the gap between the white middle-class families portrayed on television and the Latino experience in the barrio of Chicago.
Esperanza also recognizes that, in order to participate in the broader white American world, she needs to inhabit a house that is a visible manifestation of success and assimilation. For her, the home is a way to assume a public persona and eventually a place wherein she might assume an identity for her community.
Her identity becomes inextricably interconnected with her home environment. However, when architecture will not cooperate, she must look instead to her imagination in order to create a sense of space—one which can, in turn, provide a place for her writing. She speaks of the pin curls her mother makes in an effort to look pretty and the way her mother moves over to make room in the bed for her children while her Papa sleeps blissfully through the commotion.
Within this description, the mother belongs exclusively to the family and the household she runs. It is Mama who makes room in the bed when a child is scared and Papa who remains asleep and unaware of the goings on around him.
She points out that in the Cordero home her siblings all speak to one another, but outside it, the boys have their own lives and never interact with the girls. This segregation mimics the lives of the older people in the community and reinforces the gender stratifications that exist outside marriage.
Without her brothers, Esperanza is left with her younger sister, Nenny. Nenny is too young to be the friend that Esperanza wants, one to whom she will not have to explain jokes, one to whom she can tell her secrets.
She resists the idea of women being powerless, preferring instead the legends of her wild grandmother who refused to marry. Esperanza explains further how her willful grandmother was abducted and forced to marry. For Esperanza, it figures as a prison with a princess hidden away never to come out. In her world, princes do not rescue but imprison the princess. As she continues to think about her name, she begins to wish for a name more like a superhero or a mythic woman, giving in to her dream of escape.
There is also a woman who used to own an apartment building and begged her son not to sell it. The son agreed but then sold the building anyway.
After observing Esperanza, Cathy agrees to be her friend but only for a week. Esperanza eventually has a good day in her new neighborhood. While walking with Cathy, her temporary friend, Esperanza meets Rachel and Lucy, rag-tag sisters from Texas, who want five dollars for their friendship so they can download a new bike. The three girls agree to take turns, each owning the bike once every three days.
The ownership of the bike speaks to the circumstances of the barrio. To own something often requires the aid of others, as few people can afford to download things on their own. She intends to help others get out of their own particular situations. Instead, the bond between Nenny and Esperanza is revealed in their mannerisms and in their shared experiences, acquired from years of living together.
Nenny is one of the few people with whom Esperanza shares the same cultural literacy. This literacy, in some ways, exiles Esperanza from the people around her, but at the same time it strengthens her familial ties. The store is a maze in which a child might get lost. During one visit with her sister, Nenny finds an old music box and asks the owner about it. He winds the victrola, and sound pours out, entrancing both Esperanza and Nenny. A moment later, Esperanza, catching herself becoming interested, turns away, pretending that she does not care.
She thinks her sister is stupid for caring and asking how much it costs. In the next vignette, Esperanza describes her new neighbor, a young man who calls himself Meme, though his name is Juan. Winning is important to the children, and Meme willingly accepts the consequences. He has proved himself in the neighborhood and feels good about it. His cousin Marin lives with them, and though she wears make-up and 24 nylons and claims to be in love, her nearest contact with the outside world is in the doorway of her home.
She is forced into babysitting her young relatives because she is a woman, an early example of the imprisoned women that Esperanza observes throughout the book. All of the children clamor for rides, asking the man where he got the car. He takes them for a ride around the neighborhood but never answers the question. Intoxicated with the power windows and luxury of the Cadillac, the children press buttons and play with controls.
By the seventh time around the block, police sirens are sounding.
The chase ends with the car crashing into a tree and the young man in handcuffs. This young man comes back to his neighborhood to show what he has achieved even if by criminal means. Sadly, he also gives the impression that one of the few ways out of the barrio is through crime. She dreams of working downtown in a job where she can wear nice clothes and be seen by men, with the hope that one might marry her and take her away to his home in the suburbs.
Every night she stands on the front porch after her mother goes to sleep and waits for the boys to pass by and look at her. Esperanza, in her careful study of Marin as a female archetype, realizes that Marin has pinned all of her hopes of escape on men. She knows every strange figure in the neighborhood. With knowledge comes lack of fear and, with that, a kind of power.
Still, she recognizes that white people are not the sole perpetuators of racial distrust. Because there are so many and they behave so badly, the entire community, including the children and Rose, becomes indifferent to the well-being of these children. As a result, no one notices when Angel Vargas, a small child, climbs to the top of roof and throws herself off. Esperanza outlines the apathy created when people are overwhelmed.
Alicia is a young woman in the neighborhood who attends college, believing that education might be her means out of the neighborhood. She is also a surrogate mother to her siblings and a surrogate housekeeper for her father. This young woman goes to bed so exhausted she hallucinates mice that keep her up at night.
Her father orders her to sleep so she can again wake early and provide for her siblings before taking two trains and a bus to college, which might prove to be her salvation from marriage or life in a factory. In the next chapter, Esperanza introduces Darius, who bullies little girls and skips school.
Esperanza talks about the sky being one of the few beautiful things that exist in the barrio. This thought reminds her of Darius and a profound thing he once said to her. The sky is 26 one of the beautiful things that make it into the barrio, and it cannot be taken away by poverty or prejudice. In the next lines, they bicker about the type of snow and the number of names a cousin has, at least one for each identity American and Spanish , before discussing the different names of clouds.
As they identify the different types of clouds, names from the neighborhood are being repeated, all the different types of people who live in the barrio, all the different types of Spanish names.
The girls get into an argument over a description of a cloud that includes a reference to a face. They try to outtalk one another, exchanging insults and eventually creating a cacophony of voices.
The chapter ends with the girls realizing that their argument is stupid and not worth risking their friendship over. The multicolored shoes are exciting to the girls, offering them the chance to pretend to be Cinderella, or an older girl who attracts men like flies. As they swap shoes and try them on, Lucy orders them to take their socks off, and when they do they realize that they have legs like the older girls, the kind that potentially draw the attention of men.
They walk down the street to the grocery store. Around them, the men are abuzz, some indignant and wanting to 27 protect the girls from growing up too quickly, others filled with lascivious intent. Critic Michelle Scalise Sugiyama writes: Their resolution to never go back to wearing the other kind of shoes comes after they realize that the shoes make them sexually attractive to men.
As they pass the laundromat, they make some of the other women jealous of the shoes they have. Their sense of empowerment dies, however, when they meet a homeless man who compliments them and offers a dollar for a kiss.
Suddenly, the male attention that brought so much pleasure is now rife with potential violence. The girls run from him and decide they are tired of being beautiful. Everyday she goes home for lunch, envying the children who remain at school to eat in the cafeteria. The nun allows her to stay at school for one day, so Esperanza gets her wish; she goes to the canteen but only after meeting with Mother Superior who questions her until Esperanza is in tears.
Which one? When she finally enters the cafeteria, she is crying, her lunch is soggy, and all of the other children are watching her. After all of her persuasive rhetoric, Esperanza finds she no longer wants to be in this hostile environment that turns out to be nothing very interesting at all. Again, she is forced to recognize the boundaries of inclusion and exclusion.
Her mother downloads her a new dress, slip, and socks. By the end of the trip, her mother is too tired to download Esperanza new shoes, and they leave without them. While her mother is shopping, Esperanza waits by the door, allowing no one in except her mother, another small reality of her life. She dresses for the party and puts on her old shoes, feeling sure that they have overshadowed the effect of the rest of her newly bought items.
Again, Esperanza returns to the eroticism of the feet. When she arrives at the party, she sits in a chair, tucking her feet beneath the seat in an effort to hide them. When she is asked to dance by a boy, she refuses, afraid to show her shoes.
Her Uncle Nacho then asks her to dance and drags the unwilling Esperanza to the floor. With all of the compliments and fanfare, Esperanza eventually forgets that her shoes are old and serviceable, bought because they last. Instead, all she hears is the clapping of the crowd as the music stops.
When she returns to her seat, her mother is proud. Throughout the rest of the night, the boy who asked her to dance, who she suddenly sees as a man, watches her. She is excited by the idea of being wanted by this man.
The male definition of beauty, exemplified by high heels, is psychologically as well as physically crippling as it requires, ultimately, submission and dependence.
Esperanza is becoming increasingly aware of her sexuality and the powers and limits that accompany it. This becomes particularly apparent in the next chapter. The chapter begins with Lucy, Rachel, Esperanza, and Nenny skipping rope, talking about hips. Rachel cannot move outside the realm of her own knowledge and experience to imagine something different, beyond gender roles. Lucy suggests hips are needed to dance. Nenny claims that, without them, one becomes a boy.
Esperanza counters all arguments with science, a seemingly infallible discipline, and an insight she has derived from the college student, Alicia.
Hips widen to allow mothers to give birth to their children. Beyond science though, Esperanza wants to discuss a broader, more imminent question: Do they want hips? Will they know what to do with them once they get them?
The questions reflect her insecurities about taking on both the body and the roles of a woman. Nenny answers naively that the walk is meant to rock babies. Esperanza immediately wants to discount her younger sibling, but after thinking about it she realizes that this idea may not be so far-fetched and that her sister may not be so distant from her after all.
While the older girls are chanting their new rhymes, Nenny continues to recite the old ones she already knows. As Olivarez puts it: Suddenly the awareness of time passing and of growing up is given a spatial dimension. The girls, excluding Nenny, are now well on their way into puberty and with that comes the acquisition of a certain set of culturally derived expectations based on gender and socioeconomic status. For the Cordero family, there is no question of going to public school.
First, he believes that a Catholic education will lead to spiritual success, particularly in light of the fact that it reinforces gender roles in the family, but also because inner-city public schools are notoriously poorly financed and maintained. In an effort to get a job quickly, Esperanza has already gotten her social 31 security number and imagines herself working at a typical job in a dime store or a hot dog stand.
When Esperanza comes home from school one day, her mother and her aunt are waiting for her with a job plan. She is to work at the Peter Pan Photo Finishers where her aunt is employed.
They coach Esperanza to claim she is a year older than she actually is in order to begin working without the interference of child labor laws. The next morning, Esperanza puts on a navy dress that makes her look older than her years and borrows money for lunch and her fare, knowing that she has a full week before she gets paid from her new job. For the interview, she lies about her age and gets the job.
At work, she wears gloves and matches photos with their negatives. The hours are long, and she grows tired but is too shy to ask if she can sit. She mimics the behavior of the women beside her, gratefully sitting when they do. Her shyness backfires when the two women figure out what she is doing and laugh at her, finally telling her that she can sit down whenever she wants to. To hide her embarrassment, she relies on bravado, claiming that she already knew that, but their laughter only exacerbates her feelings of exclusion.
Her shyness continues to make the job difficult. When she is too scared to go into a lunchroom of strangers and eat, she hides in the washroom, eating her lunch and resuming her work early. When the next break comes, she hides in the cloak room, watching people punch in for the next shift. While she sits there, an older Asian man sits down to talk to her.
Esperanza is happy to have the company until the man claims it is his birthday and asks for a kiss. She figures that there is no harm in kissing an old man for his birthday, but when she moves to kiss his cheek, he grabs her face and forces a kiss onto her mouth. The older she becomes, the more Esperanza develops a need, born of experience, to view men as dangerous predators.
This continued pattern of abuse, harassment, and potential harm upsets some critics as they say it is an unfair portrayal of men and Chicano men in particular. Still, in contrast to that point of view, in the next chapter, Esperanza is awakened by her father.
He tells her, in his native Spanish, that her grandmother is dead and then he 32 begins to cry. This unsettles Esperanza. She associates few things with her father: his getting up for work in the dark, his thick hands and shoes, the water he combs his hair with and the coffee he drinks.
His masculinity, his whole being for her, is encased in the daily rituals that surround his working and the effects of his work. To see her father cry is to view him as a human being as opposed to a breadwinner and an authority figure. She puts her arms around her father and holds him tight, wanting to never let go of this rare moment in which she gets to comfort him.
She also recognizes that her father will have to return to Mexico for the funeral. This realization reinforces the notion that she is between two ethnicities, Mexican and American, and in many ways belongs to neither as she negotiates her coming of age. Suddenly, she is forced to face a very tangible mortality. The chapter begins with her mother praying for Esperanza because she was born on an evil day. In the photos her aunt is athletic, a swimmer.
Though Esperanza tries, she cannot reconcile the photographs with the reality of her aunt who seems surrounded by a yellow scent, lighting, and bed clothes, as if the illness has infected everything in the room and turned it that sickly hue. She includes in her litany of guesses the suggestion that God was busy, too, or what is perhaps the story told by her cousin, that her aunt fell very hard from a high stool.
Ultimately, she accepts none of these stories, coming to the difficult assessment that disease is democratic and random. She also muses that sometimes because the disease is so omnipresent, one forgets that things were ever any other way, though Lupe is in grave pain and so close to death.
During one visit to Aunt Lupe, the girls decide to include the ailing woman in a game they play. In the game, they select a famous person to imitate until someone guesses the identity correctly. On this day, the girls decide that it would be fun to choose people from around the neighborhood to imitate rather than celbrities. They decide to imitate Aunt Lupe. Esperanza experiences conflicting feelings because she loves her aunt.
Lupe is the only person who listens to every word she says. Esperanza would bring library books and read them to her. You must keep writing. It will keep you free. Aunt Lupe becomes an iconic figure for Esperanza. The girls make themselves limp and cry out for help in weak voices, they pretend to be blind and to have trouble sitting up. What they do not realize is that as they are enjoying their game, Aunt Lupe has died. They are shocked; they had nearly forgotten that the actions they imitated were those of a dying woman.
The girls retreat into Catholicism to beg for forgiveness for their actions. Much of the expected mysticism of a fortune teller is missing in this home as Elenita is still a woman with a messy house, needy children, and plasticcovered furniture.
Here, the mystical and the sacred co-exist, as both Catholicism and older superstitions are invoked.