Latino neighborhood by turning to a life on pdf the house on mango street streets. The novel has been critically acclaimed, and has also become a New York Times Bestseller.
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. She begins to write as a way of expressing herself and as a way to escape the suffocating effect of the neighborhood. The novel also includes the stories of many of Esperanza’s neighbors, providing a picture of the neighborhood and offering examples of the many influences surrounding her.
Esperanza quickly befriends Lucy and Rachel Guerrero, two Texan girls who live across the street. Lucy, Rachel, Esperanza, and Esperanza’s little sister, Nenny, have many adventures in the small space of their neighborhood. As the vignettes progress, the novel depicts Esperanza’s budding personal maturity and developing world outlook. Esperanza later slips into puberty and likes it when a boy watches her dance at a baptism party.
Esperanza’s newfound views lead her to become friends with Sally, a girl her age who wears black nylon stockings, makeup, high heels, and short skirts, and uses boys as an escape from her abusive father. Sally, a beautiful girl according to her father, can get into trouble with being as beautiful as she is. Esperanza is not completely comfortable with Sally’s sexuality. Their friendship is compromised when Sally ditches Esperanza for a boy at a carnival. As a result, Esperanza is sexually assaulted by a man at the carnival. Earlier at her first job, an elderly man tricked her into kissing him on the lips.
Esperanza’s traumatic experiences and observations of the women in her neighborhood cement her desire to escape Mango Street. She later realizes that she will never fully be able to leave Mango Street behind. She vows that after she leaves she will return to help the people she has left behind. Not wanting to write directly about herself, Cisneros constructs the book in a combination of genres pulling mantles of poetry, autobiography, and fiction. Certain parts of the book directly reflect Cisneros’ life, while others stray. Their arms were little, and their hands were little, and their height was not tall, and their feet very small.
Each vignette can stand as an independent story. These vignettes don’t follow a complete or chronological narrative, although they often mention characters introduced in earlier sections. The conflicts and problems in these short stories are never fully resolved, just as the futures of people in the neighborhood are often uncertain. I knew then I had to have a house. One I could point to. The house on Mango Street isn’t it. For the time being, Mama says.
But I know how those things go. The set of vignettes charts her life as Esperanza Cordero grows during the year: both physically and emotionally. She wrote the book initially as a catharsis, not realizing that it would eventually represent a voice for Latinos and become enveloped in the works of great Latino literature. She wanted it to be lyrical enough to be appreciated by poetry enthusiasts, but also accessible enough that laymen could read and enjoy the novel.
She desired the book to resonate with children, adults, and ages in between, and in totality chose to keep the novel short so that even the busiest of parents and adults who worked long shifts like her father always had, could still find time to read it. She was the only daughter among seven children in her family. Cisneros’ family and father specifically did not initially support her writing. Her father never wanted her to be an author.
When she was growing up, the only famous Latinas were those on TV, and in the seventies they were seen most often on television as weather girls. Cisneros and her father envisioned her as a newscaster for that reason. Despite a lacking support system, Cisneros continued to pursue writing, and used her life to inspire her early works. Cisneros first began writing about the protagonist, Esperanza, when she had just finished graduate school.