What does the author have in common with the main character in The House on Mango Street?

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lsumner | High School Teacher | (Level 2) Senior Educator

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Sandra Cisneros wrote The House on Mango Street. Cisneros had similar experiences to Esperanza, the protagonist, in The House on Mango Street. Cisneros too moved around from house to house. She lived in ghetto neighborhoods of Chicago. She often found herself in small, cramped homes. Cisneros also comes from a large family in which she was the only daughter of seven children. Growing up, she often felt out of place:

Cisneros remembers that as a child she often felt a sense of displacement.

Life was a struggle for Cisneros. Money was hard to come by. By the time Cisneros was twelve, her parents had saved enough money for a down payment on a run-down house:

By 1966 her parents had saved enough money for a down payment on a run-down, two-story house in a decrepit Puerto Rican neighborhood on Chicago's north side. There Cisneros spent much of her childhood.

From her experiences of living in this house, she deveoped her writing skills. She wrote about the characters that surrounded her life during this time. These neighbors later became characters in her book The House on Mango Street.

As a child, due to moving around so much, Cisneros became withdrawn. She had just a few friends. She observed the neighbors carefully. Her mother encouraged her to write. She also made sure Cisneros had a library card.

In college, Cisneros found her own voice. Others' writings encouraged her to write about her own experiences as a child:

The author wrote poems and stories as a schoolgirl, but the impetus for her career as a creative writer came during her college years, when she was introduced to the works of Donald Justice, James Wright, and other writers who made Cisneros more aware of her cultural roots.

Today, we have Esperanza and The House on Mango Street which is a reflection of some of Cisnero's own experiences while growing up.



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