75 pages 2 hours read

Sandra Cisneros

The House on Mango Street

Fiction | Novella | YA | Published in 1984

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Character Analysis


Esperanza is a Mexican American girl living in Chicago with her parents. Her mother and father immigrated from Mexico to give their children a better life. Although Esperanza loves and respects her family, she longs for the American dream. She is embarrassed by their small house on Mango Street, in which they all share one bedroom. She dreams of growing older and owning a house all to herself, somewhere where she can be close to nature. The novel charts Esperanza’s growth from child to young woman. She explores what it means to be the child of immigrants, to make friendships, to develop sexually, and to strive for independence and autonomy even though those qualities are not admired by her parents’ culture. She often feels different, left out, or ashamed of who she is. Esperanza doesn’t want to marry young and have children like many of her relatives and peers. Writing becomes her way of staking out an identity for herself, and a path toward education and independence. Writing also allows her to honor her ancestors and community by giving voice to the voiceless.