6. Novel in Latino/a literature:
Sandra Cisneros The House on Mango Street
Questions, before: What do you expect this story to be about? Is there anything exotic about it? How is that expressed? How do you expect it to be expressed in the story?
Essay and lesson plan on experiencing poetical prose
Teacher Vision discussion questions
I read some reviews for this book and I could not believe how underated it is and how many people didn’t understand it. Some people say that it is just a collection of random thoughts, but that is not the case. You see, this book a whole story and instead of having chapters of episodes, it contains “vignettes” which the dictionary defines as “a short descrioptive literary sketch”. Each vignette contains an important part of the story. The whole story describes the thoughts, feelings, and meories of Esperanza, an hispanic girl living in the poverty corner of the city, with dreams to escape her world. At the same time, she grows up and starts to leave her childhood, while learning about the fears and dangers of the world she never knew of before. Becomeing an adult turns out to be a hard challenge. The first vignette called “House On Mango Street” is meant to describe the setting. The second “Hairs” describes the looks and characteristics of the characters. The third called “Boys and Girls” tells the difference between genders, which is important because the story deals with men and women. The following vignette called “My Name” paints the image of self and the feelings of hope and the future. Therefore, these vignettes are not mere collections of random thoughts and uneducated language, but a poetic story with a well drawn setting, characterization, and gripping tone. Even though the story evolves around hispanics, this is a book for all races. The poverty and dreams of home remind me of the experiences of African-Americans and Chinese, as well as Caucasians. When I was in a Creative Writing class, we wrote many vignettes and if you are a student in Creative Writing you HAVE to get this book and share it with your class and teacher. It will help you understand the importance writing free verses, for this is the best example of vignettes I have ever seen. The voice of the author does not sound profesional or too fancy, but like the ordinary words people say today. it is a story of our time and a tale for all. My only complaint is that it was too short! I wanted to know more about what Esperanza does and her wishes. I also wanted to know what happened to her after the story. Even so, it is pretty plain to see that Esperanza learned how to escape from her cruel world, unlike the people who never knew where she went. I haven’t seen such an exquisite story of our modern times since I read the “Joy Luck Club” about two years ago. If you want to read a beautiful story about growing up, living life, and with musical poetry, you must read this book.
from an Amazon review