About the Book
"The House on Mango Street is a slim book consisting of forty-four vignettes, or literary sketches, narrated by Esperanza Cordero and ranging in length from two paragraphs to four pages. The novel recounts the complex experience of being young, poor, female, and Chicana in America. The novel opens with a description of the Cordero family's house on Mango Street, the most recent in a long line of houses they have occupied. Esperanza is dissatisfied with the house, which is small and cramped, and doesn't want to stay there. But Mango Street is her home now, and she sets out to try to understand it."
From: Dianne Klein, "Coming of Age in Novels by Rudolfo Anaya and Sandra Cisneros," in English Journal, Vol. 81, No. 5, September, 1992, pp. 21–6.
From our Catalog
Notes on the Book
From LitChart - Easy to use interactive chart to see all of The House on Mango Street's themes and plot points on one page.
- Themes: Hover over or tap any of the themes in the Theme Key to show only that theme.
- Summary: Hover over or tap any row of colored boxes to read the summary associated with that row. Click the row to lock the summary.
Critical Insights: The House on Mango Street from Salem Press
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Did You Know?
Bildungsroman is the combination of two German words: Bildung, meaning "education," and Roman, meaning "novel."
A "bildungsroman" is a novel that deals with the formative years of the main character - in particular, his or her psychological development and moral education. The bildungsroman usually ends on a positive note with the hero's foolish mistakes and painful disappointments over and a life of usefulness ahead.
In many ways, The House on Mango Street is a traditional bildungsroman—that is, a coming-of-age story. Only one year passes over the course of the novel, but Esperanza matures tremendously during this period.