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Free Study Guide for The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

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The story is told exclusively from Esperanzaís point of view. For the most part, this offers the reader an intimacy that would be unavailable if the book were written about Esperanza--since it is, in a sense, by her, we have a much greater insight not only into what she thinks but also the way she thinks. For example, when she describes her encounter with Sire and his friends, she says, "They didnít scare me. They did, but I wouldnít let them know." She at first tries to be confident with the reader, the same way she does with Sire, but then admits her fear and her desire to keep it hidden. Perhaps she is even trying, at first, to fool herself into thinking she is brave. Thus, when she lets us know her true feelings, it is more significant to the reader.

The reader also is able to witness Esperanzaís many little worries and insecurities, which would probably be missing if the book were not so focused on her state of mind. We observe her nervousness when she first meets Lucy and Rachel: she chips in for a bike, frantically borrowing some of Nennyís money but not telling them because "itís too complicated." She tells them her name, petrified that they will laugh. They donít, of course, and her happiness is made all the more poignant when the reader knows how desperate for friends she has been.


1. What does Esperanza like about Sally? What does she dislike?

2. How does Esperanza feel about her family?

3. Does Esperanza want a boyfriend?

4. Why does Esperanza want to leave Mango Street?

5. How is Esperanza different from the women she knows?

6. What does Esperanza think about her grandmother?

7. What is the meaning of the shoes Esperanza and her friends wear in "The Family of Little Feet"?

8. What does Esperanza think about Mexico?

9. Why does Esperanza want her own house?

10. What is the meaning of Esperanzaís conversation with the Three Sisters?

11. Why does Esperanza write?

12. Why is the book called "The House on Mango Street?"

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