The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street book cover
Start Your Free Trial

What is a vignette in The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros?

Expert Answers info

jxcampbell eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2019

write103 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and History

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...

(The entire section contains 3 answers and 835 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now


check Approved by eNotes Editorial

Domenick Franecki eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2016

write4,282 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, History, and Social Sciences

Further Reading:

check Approved by eNotes Editorial

bree1228 eNotes educator | Certified Educator

calendarEducator since 2015

write50 answers

starTop subjects are Literature, Social Sciences, and Research Starters

check Approved by eNotes Editorial


queenp | Student

A vignette is a brief story that gives readers a glimpse into a moment in time or a character within a story. In The House on Mango Street, the author, Sandra Cisneros, weaves various stories centered on the people living on Mango Street. Through the beautifully written vignettes, readers see the culture and lives of Latinos who are looking for a better life in America. Readers, also, get a glimpse at the underlying prejudices that Esperanza Cordero, the main character, and others like her experience living in the neighborhood as seen in the chapters, “Cathy, Queen of Cats” and “Those Who Don’t.” Esperanza Cordero, experiences with these events shape who she is evolving into as a Latin American due to each interaction that she experiences or witnesses. Readers see that Esperanza learns throughout the vignettes that Mango Street is part of her and she a part of it. Cisneros's use of language in the vignettes shows a depth of beauty in the culture of the Latinos on Mango Street as well as a stark reality of their struggles in society as poor people wanting a better life—known as the American dream. The vignettes give a poignant and vividly descriptive glimpse into the sense of pride, sorrow, invisibility, and struggles to make a better life.