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The House on Mango Street
Transcript of The House on Mango Street
dreams & plans
society & class
gender Major Themes: In her introduction to the 25th anniversary edition of The House on Mango Street, Cisneros explains that "she wants the writers she admires to respect her work, but she also wants people who don't usually read books to enjoy these stories too" Many of the stories she tells are sad, some even painful, but she never writes them with a sense of depression. Instead her characters portray a determination to reach and dream of a better life creating a sense of optimism. Search for a Better Life: Self-Identity: Esperanza struggles to find her identity in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and economic status. Esperanza learns that what defines her is her ability to tell stories. Her writing allows her to express her childhood and other aspects of her life that made her feel different. Now, she has become confident writer with with own hopes and dreams. The hopes and dreams of the characters in The House on Mango Street are characterized by a house. For Esperanza’s parents, happiness and security is having a white house that was big enough for their whole family, but Esperanza had a different dream. Her dream was to have a house all to herself, in which she could be free to write just like she states in her introduction for the 25th Anniversary Edition of The House on Mango Street. Hopes & Dreams: Society & Class We figure throughout the story that poverty and class distinctions are an issue. The residents of Mango Street live in old, run-down apartments and houses. They only dream of residing in the big, beautiful, well-kept houses in the nice neighborhoods of the city. Many of the women in the community are oppressed. This becomes an issue of freedom when the men don’t let the women leave their homes and the women are frequently abused and mistreated. We witness these actions when Esperanza is sexually assaulted. Also, she mentions in the novel “The Chinese, like the Mexicans, don't like their women strong.” Not conforming to society’s gender roles and expectations, and remaining independent creates a source of power for Esperanza that otherwise is stripped away by the men in society. Gender: Sandra writes about many of her own experiences through her characters. "Some fibers of those stories are mine." "And then Rafaela, who is still young but getting old from leaning out the window so much, gets locked indoors because her husband is afraid Rafaela will run away since she is too beautiful to look at. " "She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow […] Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window." The House on Mango Street It is the story of the young Latina girl, Esperanza Cordero, who invents who and what she will become throughout the story using poems and vignettes to express her emotions about her oppressive environment. She wishes to break free from this oppression through her work. Do you think Esperanza's attitude is pessimistic or hopeful throughout the story?
How does Sandra express her thoughts and experiences through her characters in The House on Mango Street?
Why do you think Esperanza vows to go back to Mango Street? Is this something that the author wants to do for her own life? Why? Discussion Questions: "I knew then I had to have a house. A real house. One I could point to. But this isn't it. The house on Mango Street isn't it. For the time being, Mama says. Temporary, says Papa. But I know how those things go."
"About Sandra Cisneros." Sandra Cisneros. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2012. <http://www.sandracisneros.com/bio.php>.
Cisneros, Sandra. "House on Mango Street Intro.pdf." Blackboard. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2012. <https://campus.fsu.edu/webapps/portal/frameset>.
Cisneros, Sandra. House on Mango Street. San Diego, CA: Jane Schaffer Publications, 1997. Print.
"The House on Mango Street - The Story." YouTube. YouTube, 01 Apr. 2009. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Pyf89VsNmg>.
"The House on Mango Street." Barnes & Noble. N.p., n.d. Web. 15 Sept. 2012. <http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/house-on-mango-street-sandra-cisneros/1100476125>.
"National Poetry Month: 10 of Our Favorite Latino Poets." LATINA. N.p., n.d. Web. 16 Sept. 2012. <http://www.latina.com/entertainment/buzz/national-poetry-month-10-our-favorite-latino-poets>. Works Cited