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The House on Mango Street

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The House on Mango Street

By: Sandra Cisneros

House on Mango Street is a well written and thought provoking short novel. Sandra Cisneros does a phenomenal job of really making you understand how the main character really feels. Throughout this paper I will discuss the setting of the story, plot, "dramatic conflict", themes, point of view, and my personal opinions on the story.

House on Mango Street takes place in Chicago, IL, during the late 1950's and 1960's. Esperanza, a girl around 12 years old when the story begins, lives in a small run down red house on Mango St. which is located on the near Northwest side of the city. The other homes on the same street are also pretty run down for the most part other than a few here and there. The people in the neighborhood are all mostly of Latino backgrounds and come from modest incomes; hard working people.

The story takes place over about a years' time. The book is comprised of many smaller stories going through the year. These stories cover a wide range of events in the girls' life. For example, the story covers Esperanza's friendships, growth into womanhood, her first crush, a sexual assault that she experienced, and the beginning of her writing as a way to escape. The story also contains many stories that talk about the lives of other residents on Mango St. I think the climax of the story is when Esperanza's relationship with Sally leads to the sexual assault and ultimately results in Esperanza choosing to go back to her less mature friends. This also leads Esperanza to realize once and for all that she doesn't belong on Mango St. and needs more from life than what that neighborhood and the people in it can offer.

I think the most significant "dramatic conflict" in this story is that Esperanza feels she does not belong to the environment that she was born into. I think she feels as if she cannot relate to the people living in that environment. Her dreams are bigger than the dreams of the people around her because they have been accepting of their situation. Esperanza, however, doesn't seem to want to think that this lifestyle is what she deserves and that she can do better; that she can get further.

House on Mango Street has many important topics and themes. Some of these include the importance of language, self-realization, sexuality, independence, and the responsibilities of women to one another. These themes all play a major role throughout the story.

The story is written in first person by Esperanza and is told in present tense. Esperanza concentrates mainly on the day to day activities of her life. Sometimes it isn't even a full event that Esperanza, but just a bunch of remarks on things she sees going on. Later in the story Esperanza focuses less on herself and more on the people she interacts with. She



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