The House on Mango Street, by Sandra Cisneros, is structured using a series of vignettes, which are grouped under chapters that address a common theme. A vignette is to a story as a sketch is to a portrait — it gives the feeling, the sense, and the "slice of life" moment without a clear beginning, middle and end.
The book is heavy on imagery, simile, symbolism and metaphor. It often paints a scene without drawing explicit conclusions, leaving it up to the reader to ask why Cisneros chose to tell that tale, to sketch that particular vignette.
Two well known examples of vignettes in the memoir House on Mango Street include:
- When Esperanza and her friend encounter "the shoes"
- When Esperanza describes her new house, on Mango Street
The shoes are a result of a neighbor throwing away pairs of used, high-heeled shoes but deciding to give them to the girls instead. Esperanza and her good friends Lucy, Rachel, and Nenny make a game out of trying on the shoes, noticing how their legs somehow look...
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