Part I: The House on Mango Street, Hairs, and Boys & Girls

Study Questions
1. How is the house on Mango Street different from the other places Esperanza has lived?

2. Why did the Corderos have to move from the flat on Loomis Street?

3. What did Esperanza expect the house on Mango Street to be like?

4. Why did Esperanza have those expectations?

5. What is the house on Mango Street like? Why isn’t it “a real house”?

6. What happened between Esperanza and the nun from her school?

7. What did Esperanza realize after her experience with the nun?

8. Whose hair does Esperanza like best? Why?

9. What is Esperanza’s relationship with Nenny like?

10. Does Esperanza have a best friend?

Answers
1. The house on Mango Street is different because the Corderos own it rather than rent it. They don’t have to share it with anybody or answer to a landlord.

2. They had to leave the flat on Loomis because the water pipes broke and the landlord refused to fix them.

3. Esperanza expected the house on Mango Street to be a house with plenty of room, “real stairs,” at least three bathrooms, and a huge yard.

4. She had these expectations because this was the kind of house she saw on TV, the kind of house her parents talked about, the kind her mother described to her in stories.

5. The house on Mango Street is small, crumbling, with no front yard, and only a small backyard. It has apartment-style stairs, only one bathroom, and only three bedrooms, so everyone has to share. It’s not a house Esperanza can point to with pride.

6. The nun who passed Esperanza while she was playing in front of her flat on Loomis Street made Esperanza ashamed of where she lived. The nun made Esperanza “feel like nothing.”

7. After the incident with the nun, Esperanza knew she had to have a real house, one that she “could point to” with pride.

8. She likes her mother’s hair best because it smells like bread and makes her feel safe.

9. Esperanza thinks Nenny is too young to be her friend. Instead, Esperanza feels that Nenny is her responsibility.

10. No, she does not, but she dreams of having one.