House on Mango Street Review

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The book being reviewed is titled, The House on Mango Street and was written by Sandra Cisneros and first published in 1984. The book follows a young Latina girl growing up in Chicago as she travels on the roller coaster of life trying to find her way. The story is told in a series of vignettes. The price of the book is $11.00 and ISBN: 978-0-679-73477-2.

Sandra Cisneros is well known for her poetry and short story collections; her ability to connect several short stories/vignettes is flawless. The purpose of this book was to tell a coming-of-age story. Covering a year of the life of a Mexican-American girl, Esperanza, who faces many challenges as she finds her own way through this crucial year of development both physically and mentally/emotionally. My own perception of the purpose of this book was to expose some of the cultural traditions and circumstances of a Mexican family living in America. Also, on the page before the Table of Contents, there is one page with the words “A las Muejeres….To the Women”; clearly Cisneros intended to make an impact of the lives of females.

In any well written novel there are several themes. The main theme that jumped out at me was the idea behind language and how it can define you. For example, Esperanza talks about how her father couldn’t make any choices about what he would eat when he first came to America because he wasn’t able to communicate in English; consequently he ate “hamandeggs” for three months because he didn’t know any other words in English. Also, when Esperanza’s mom writes a letter to the school and it doesn’t get much positive attention because it’s so written in broken English. Finally, when the lady arrives to live with the man across the street, Esperanza calls her “mamacita”. Mamacita never comes out of the house and Esperanza thinks it’s because she doesn’t speak English; she sits and listens to Spanish radio all day and encourages her son to “No speak English”. The thesis is that in order to have...
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