The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a coming-of-age novel told in vignettes from the point of view of Esperanza, a young girl who grows up in a barrio neighborhood in Chicago. How the environment of the neighborhood affects Esperanza’s perceptions of life and herself is a theme throughout the stories.
In the chapter “My Name,” Esperanza indicates that she doesn’t like her name because it sets her apart from mainstream society. She associates her heritage and living conditions with sadness in contrast to the optimism and prosperity of post-war America.
In English, my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting.
Esperanza experiences a loss of hope in the chapter “Gil’s Furniture Bought & Sold.” She describes the neighborhood junk store run by a cheapskate owner who doesn’t turn on the lights unless there is a sale. At the insistence of her sister Nenny, the store owner demonstrates for the girls how to operate a...
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