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The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

By , Sacramento, CA

The book ‘House On Mango Street’ by Sandra Cisneros is a story about the life of  a young woman, Esperanza, and her life on Mango Street. It is told in a series of vignettes. This story should be read because it raises questions about gender roles, females in society, and life in new neighborhoods.


The main character of this story is Esperanza, a twelve year old that, with her family, moved to a new home on Mango Street, in Chicago. Prior to this, they often moved frequently, but settled on Mango Street. Esperanza dislikes the new home; she thinks it is too small and boring, and dislikes the neighborhood, thinking it is too ‘claustrophobic.’ She initially describes the people around her, being observant. As the story progresses, she becomes more mature, and hits puberty. She becomes friends with Sally, a girl who spent a lot of her time with boys, to escape her father. Later, they attend a carnival; Sally leaves Esperanza, and Esperanza gets sexually assaulted by an older man at the carnival. Esperanza then vowed to leave Mango Street.


This book is well written, with attention to detail and steady plot development. Since it is written in vignettes, it is enjoyable to read, because it is fast paced and easily consumable. This, however, meant that a lot of the story was simply filler. Personally, i was not a fan of the constant repetition and pointless description, such as on page 39: “There was a family. All were little. Their arms were little … and their height was not tall…” This story tends to drag out the reader with childish description and adjectives. Cisneros writes with an interesting style, portraying dialogue but without quotation marks. This blends the dialogue into the events in the story and makes it seem more fluid; The issue is that this can become confusing and the reader will not know who is speaking (Example: Page 46.)


Overall, The House On Mango Street is an attractive story, with relatable elements that will entertain many young readers. The story’s themes of pursuit of a better life and females and sexuality all add to the enjoyment of the story.






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