Book Review-The House On Mango Street (By Sandra Cisneros)

The House On Mango Street is a book that follows a girl named Esperanza. Sandra Cisneros writes many vignettes about Esperanza’s life. Esperanza has many hardships in her life, including creepy men, financial issues with her family, and friendship troubles. Esperanza has a complicated life. It all started when she moved into her house on Mango St., and maybe even before that. Her house was nothing like she thought it would be, oh no, it was so much worse. The bricks were falling apart, the doors creaked, the house screamed for attention. She met people; some insulted her, some pretended to be her friend, some wanted money to help pay for a bike to share, some even tried to take advantage of her youth and inexperience.Esperanza’s aunt died, someone said that Mango St. was getting bad, right when she moved in, a nun made her feel like nothing, someone assumed she was even poorer than she actually was.

Esperanza has happy moments too; biking with her friends, riding in a fancy car her friend stole, jumping rope with her friends, making up rhymes, reading her poems to her dying aunt, reading poems to help support a friend who doesn’t have the support she needs and deserves. Esperanza’s life is complicated, but she does all she can to make it fun and exciting.

Esperanza is the main character in this story, and yes, I would like to meet her. Esperanza has a shy and quiet personality, but she wants to break free. She wants to be strong and stand up for herself, I know this because on page 74 Esperanza says, “[The trees’] strength is secret.” In this quote Esperanza is talking about four “skinny” trees. Sandra Cisneros made “The Four Skinny Trees” into its own vignette, showing its importance. In this whole vignette, Esperanza is comparing the trees to herself, therefore, she is saying she, has a secret strength. I would like to meet Esperanza because I think I could encourage her to show her strength, also, she seems like a very kind and caring person.

This book definitely isn’t the best book I have read, but it really stands out. This is the only book I have ever read that has so much meaning behind every word. The structure of the sentences makes the whole book poetic and so much more consequential than most books. Sandra Cisneros does a great job describing Esperanza’s life. She covers mournful topics, joyful topics, boring topics etc. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read poetry with coded or underlying topics. I would recommend this because this book can teach us about people who aren’t very fortunate. This book is a roller coaster of emotions.

I don’t think that The House On Mango Street is not like any book I’ve ever read but I can make some comparisons. Once, by Morris Gleitzman, is a book written in almost a poetic way, like The House On Mango Street. Once is also written in a way where the author separates each chapter into totally different topics. Many books are like The House On Mango Street where a character/s is discriminated against because of his/her/their race/s.

I think that Sandra Cisneros conveys many different themes in The House On Mango Street. One idea is that poor people must work very hard to have a house, support children, and put food on the table. In one of the chapters, Esperanza’s aunt lies about Esperanza’s age to an employer to get Esperanza a job. In the end of that chapter, as it turns out, Esperanza is too young to face the creepy people in our world, and gets forced into a kiss.

Which brings me to the next point/theme… Women aren’t treated with the respect they deserve. In one of the chapters in The House On Mango Street Esperanza and her friends walk down the street in high heels. Some say heels were created for fashion, while others say that heels were created to show off womens’ legs. I think, for the most part, heels were created to show off womens’ legs and sexualize the women wearing them. In this chapter, the girls get cat called and men watch them in a greedy, disgusting ways. This chapter shows that in a lot of places we, women, can feel scared because people are looking at us in creepy ways. (Y’all might want to read my post about “Gender roles and Expectations”.)

I also think Sandra Cisneros tells us a lot about accepting yourself. Esperanza’s friends are waiting, some for love, and some for just a better future. I think Sandra Cisneros wants us to actually think: is what we are waiting for really going to come? Not always; e.g. when you are playing a game of cards and you are waiting for that one card to make you able to win the game. When I focus on just getting that one card, I usually end up losing because the chances of getting that one card are low. Humans, we just always, well most of the time, never want to lose hope.

Thanks for reading! 🙂 Please check out some of my other posts to get good reading suggestions. Feel free to comment below.


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