The House on Mango Street
Sandra Cisneros was born in Chicago in 1954. She was the third child and the only daughter in a family containing seven children. She grew up and came to study at the Loyola University of Chicago and later on at the University of Iowa. Cisneros is the founder of two organizations, the Macondo Organization and the Alfredo Cisneros del Moral Foundation, whose goal is to serve writers. Sandra Cisneros has been writing for more than 45 years, publishing for over 35, and selling her own books for well-over 18 years. She has received the MacArthur Fellowship, two National Endowment for the Arts Fellowships, and a Texas Medal of the Arts. Cisneros is currently living with her multitude of pets in Central Mexico.
Form, Structure, and Plot:
This short story is organized into a series of vignettes, each vignette being as short as two paragraphs and as long as three full pages. This form that the story is written in reflects the rapidly-changing attention of the young girl telling it. It is told in chronological order, as it is written to resemble a journal or diary. Thus, there is no foreshadowing. It spans a year of the life of young Esperanza living on Mango Street.
Esperanza Cordero, the protagonist, is a round, dynamic character who grows both emotionally and physically during her time on Mango Street. Esperanza begins writing this story when she is around 12 years old, causing the writing to be naive in the beginning. She sees things as a child would see them, innocently. Throughout the story, Esperanza struggles with the feelings of loneliness and shame of being poor. All she wants is to fit in with someone somewhere. Esperanza uses her writing to connect with various other characters she meets in her community. “They are the only ones who understand me. I am the only one who understands them. Four skinny trees with skinny necks and pointy elbows like mine. Four who do not belong here but are here.” (74). This quote demonstrates the loneliness and despair she has in feeling that she does not belong on Mango Street.
Sally is a flat, static character whose feelings do not change through the course of the story. She seems to be around the same age as Esperanza, 12. Sally is rebellious at school, but timid at home around her father. She is scared of him and will do anything she can to escape. “You pull your skirt straight, you rub the blue paint off your eyelids. You don’t laugh, Sally. You look at your feet and walk fast to the house you can’t come out from.” (82). This quote reveals Sally’s demeanor. She becomes a different person when she goes home. Sally is no longer the confident, beautiful young girl she was at school.
Alicia is a hard-working, young girl going to a university in an attempt at giving herself something more than what is expected of Latina women who grow up in her neighborhood. She is believed to be in her young 20’s as she does not yet have a...