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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What are the five W's (who, what, when, where, why) for the "Chanclas" vignette in The House on Mango Street?

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The five W's—or who, what, when, where, and why—of the vignette "Chanclas" in The House on Mango Street are as follows:

Who: The characters in the vignette are Esperanza, her mother, her uncle Nacho, a boy who is her cousin "by first communion or something," and the other guests at the baptism party.

What: The event is a baptism party for Esperanza's cousin. At the party, Esperanza has a pretty new pink and white dress, a new slip, and new socks, but she has to wear her old brown and white scuffed Oxfords. She doesn't want to dance because she is ashamed of her shoes, despite the new dress. Uncle Nacho persuades Esperanza to dance by telling her how pretty she is. As Esperanza dances and hears the admiration from the crowd, her shame melts away and she becomes proud of herself. She forgets her shoes.

When: As Esperanza is moving into adolescence.

Where: The basement of the Precious Blood church.

Why: The title, "Chanclas," means "old worn shoes." As she dances, Esperanza's old shoes become unimportant: she loses her self-consciousness in her dance and forgets she is wearing clunky Oxfords. This vignette is important because it shows Esperanza's growing self-confidence and embrace of her gifts. It foreshadows that she is not going to let her circumstances hold her back.

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