Plots[ edit ] The story begins with Esperanza, the protagonist, describing how her family arrived at the house on Mango Street. Before the family settled in their new house, they moved around frequently. The reader develops a sense of Esperanza's observant and descriptive nature as she begins the novel with descriptions of minute behaviors and observations about her family members. Though Esperanza's age is never revealed to the reader, it is implied that she is about thirteen.
All our information about her comes from her; some things she tells us directly and we must be alert to the possibility that they are perhaps true only at the moment she says themothers indirectly in her reported actions, thoughts, and feelings. Some things about her we can never know, but because her voice is both direct and intimate, we can "know" her in some ways better than her friends and family do, better perhaps than she knows herself.
On one hand, Esperanza is a typical young adolescent girl, at some moments a child and at some an adult. She jumps rope with her friends, rides three on a bike, is drawn to a good Bugs Bunny cartoon.
On the other hand, this woman-child can exhibit very mature insights. Her assessments of Sally "all you wanted was to love. They are also signs of an imaginative intelligence that marks Esperanza as something more than average. She is a very bright girl who likes to read, to learn things and put new information together, to show off what she knows.
Moreover, her intelligence is specifically creative, as is shown by her poetry, her originality, and especially her characteristic way of describing things in imaginative similes and other metaphors.
Perhaps it is Esperanza's imaginative intelligence that makes her suspect the traditional path to womanhood, through courtship and early marriage, of being a trap.
It is a trap that draws her, of course; like most young girls, she feels herself becoming a sexual being, and she is impatient to get away from home, to stop being her parents' daughter and start being her own person.
Doing this in the traditional way, she sees, would be dangerous. Finding a new way will be lonely and difficult, for she will have to swim against the current. But Esperanza is able to employ her natural adolescent impulses and feelings in this enterprise, channeling them into independence, ambition, and the courageous refusal to capitulate to social pressures towards conformity.
In order to make these transformations, Esperanza necessarily dramatizes herself somewhat, as when she decides to become "beautiful and cruel. Part of Esperanza's self-image is one of stoicism; she keeps her feelings to herself and actually — for the narrator of a book — says relatively little, leaving the reader to infer a great deal.
In "Four Skinny Trees," she seems to be working on her self-image, rather enjoying her identification with the trees in what she sees as their strength, anger, and feeling of displacement. Only in "Red Clowns" does Esperanza actually break down — significantly, not to the reader but to her own mental picture of Sally — and characteristically she returns in the next chapter in her usual terse style, as if the incident had never happened.
And, in the three short chapters at the end of the book, she reveals what we might already have guessed about her: Esperanza is a person who will feel everything very deeply and will quietly channel her experiences and feelings into creative energy; they will emerge transformed, as art.
Our knowledge of other characters also comes from Esperanza, who understands them on her own level; we can know more about them, in some cases, by combining what she says with our own insights into human nature.
An example is one very minor character — Earl, the jukebox repairman who lives in a basement apartment near Esperanza. Esperanza knows some things about him and probably recognizes his loneliness and displacement, but as a child, she is still unable to articulate these things; older readers will see more than Esperanza does.
Other minor characters including some, like Lucy and Rachel, Nenny, even Esperanza's mother, who appear in more than one chapter can be "analyzed" as well; the trick is to examine the character through Esperanza's eyes and at the same time to recognize — given our knowledge of who Esperanza is — the hints she gives us, almost unconsciously, of the character she does not yet see.The House on Mango Street chronicles a year in her life as she matures emotionally and sexually.
The name Esperanza means “hope” in Spanish. The name Esperanza means “hope” in Spanish. Read an in-depth analysis of Esperanza. The House on Mango Street revolves around one girl and her struggle to fit the puzzle pieces of her identity – ethnicity, gender, cultural inheritance, sexuality, and economic status, to name a few examples – into a coherent whole.
All of these facets come into play as Esperanza learns that. House on Mango Street study guide contains a biography of Sandra Cisneros, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis.
About House on Mango Street House on Mango Street Summary. Get everything you need to know about Identity and Autonomy in The House on Mango Street. Analysis, related quotes, theme tracking. The theme of Identity and Autonomy in The House on Mango Street from LitCharts | The creators of SparkNotes.
Sign In Sign Up. Lit. The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros. Upgrade to A + Download this . In The House on Mango Street, the young Latina Esperanza lives with on Mango Street, which is in a predominantly Latino part of Chicago.
She's embarrassed by her family's house and wants to leave. Sandra Cisneros' early life was a subject she would later draw on as a writer in books like The House on Mango Street. She was the only daughter among seven children in her family.
She was the only daughter among seven children in her family.