Black, white, and orange illustration of Esperanza standing in front of a building or structure

The House on Mango Street

by Sandra Cisneros

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How does Esperanza gain self-esteem from living on Mango Street in The House on Mango Street?

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By the end of the novel, Esperanza is able to gain self-esteem by realizing that she is valuable and that she is a survivor.  At the end of the first chapter "The House on Mango Street," Esperanza recalls the shame that she felt when a nun pointed to her house asking if she lived, "There?"  Through experiences like this, Esperanza learns that her family's situation is not one that elicits pride.  As the novel progresses, Esperanza learns about the hardships of her neighbors; and she herself deals with her own struggles such as the instances of sexual abuse that undergoes.  However, Esperanza finds a love of and talent for writing, and her writing serves as a "ticket" off Mango Street.  She believes that through her own talent and perseverance, she will be able to go out into the world and return to save others from their hard lives on Mango Street.  This sense of value and survival enable Esperanza to develop her self-esteem.

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