The House on Mango Street

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The House on Mango Street

Author: Sandra Cisneros

Title: The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is published as a series of “vignettes.” Cisneros combines aspects of poetry, prose, conventional and non-conventional writing, first person voice with third person POV, linearity and complex chronology all at the same time while capturing what thoughts sound like in the mind and what they become when they become words, and more fascinatingly, what they are as a mix of thoughts and words on the journey between the mind and mouth—it’s really quite fascinating. House is more than a novel but really a work of art a--bunch of different colors beautifully spinning and blending together shaping and reshaping into many different forms enticing the reader with its flow and rhythm. Keep in mind though, that the read is not entirely effortless as it may seem. Cisneros demands a focus and perhaps a familiarity with the way verse and prose interact in order to catch the true depth and appreciate it in full. I recommend this book if for not the many reasons I can think of than the fact that one just has to read a book like this to experience it.

Sandra Cisneros is a Mexican-American novelist, poet and short story writer. She was born in Chicago Illinois on December 20, 1954. Cisneros was the only girl out of 7 children and was raised in a poor Chicago neighboorhood. She did not speak much English growing up. This combined with her family's financial struggles resulted in her not having many friends thus she sought solace in books. Cisneros graduated from the University of Iowa with a degree in English and Creative writing.

Esparanza is about twelve years old. She is Mexican-American living in a crowded, segregated Latino neighborhood in Chicago. Esperanza and her family have just moved to a new house on Mango Street. Though owning a house is certainly a step up compared to renting an apartment, her family was forced to leave their apartment and settle for a small, run down house in a crowded city slum. The House on Mango Street is written in a series of beautiful vignettes that tell Esperanza’s story over the course of one year. During the year, Esperanza matures tremendously in more ways than one, including socially, emotionally and sexually. As she makes new friends, embarks on new adventures, and becomes closely acquainted with her neighborhood, all of these contribute to her coming of age experience. Though at first glance from afar these adventures may appear as ordinary every day experiences for a twelve year old, but Cisneros portrays them as close ups, weaving them together into a fascinating quilt, really bringing their reality to live with in a beautiful, unique, timeless aesthetic.

A Book Collage by Ashley H.

Experience Chapter 1!


Teachers' Corner

French for "vine;" a small impressionistic scene, an illustration, a descriptive passage, a short essay, a fiction, or nonfiction work focusing on one particular moment or giving impression about an idea, character, setting, mood, aspect or an object. Vignette is neither a plot nor a full narrative description, but a carefully crafted verbal sketch that might be part of some larger work or complete description in itself.

After finally reading The House on Mango Street, I understand what makes this such a great book for ELLs. Its literary richness at the same time can meet the needs and interest of any learner at the same time. The novel in its entirety would work best for my older learners (grade 8 +) but the beauty of House is that each vignette can be taken on its own for a new different kind of experience which is great for younger learners as well. I cannot wait to teach this book.

The beauty of bilingualism.


  • alexejderkach36prpc5f4e4694dda55 2 months ago

    alexejderkach36prpc5f4e4694dda55's avatar

    This work about a house on Mango Street will be remembered for a long time and not because I liked it. And then I remember how I had to write an essay on it, and I only had time to read a couple of pages. It's also good that my friends helped me and told me where to read reviews on it, descriptions, essays of other people and even professional notes. Therefore, I can say that you should go to this website and there you can already familiarize yourself with these materials, if you are also victims of our curriculum) By the way, the work itself is good, a little later you read it quietly)