Presented as a series of vignettes, The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a coming-of-age story narrated from the point of view of Esperanza Cordero, a young Latina girl growing up in a working-class neighborhood in Chicago.
The house, the street, and the people in the neighborhood all play vital roles in Esperanza’s understanding of herself, the challenges her parents and neighbors face as working-class Latino people, and how identification with the neighborhood affects its residents in positive and negative ways.
In the opening story, Esperanza describes the places her family has lived, why they moved to Mango Street, and her sudden feeling of shame after a nun’s reaction to their house. She recalls,
You live there? The way she said it made me feel like nothing. There. I lived there. I nodded.
Esperanza also confronts her feelings of being different from mainstream culture and being hemmed in by her cultural context. In the vignette “My Name,” she thinks about the...
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