THE HOUSE ON MANGO
Part One –
THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET
Having known nothing at all about The House On Mango Street
when I signed up for this presentation my motivation was based
solely on the desire to have a piece of text I could call my own –
write on the delicate pages and let my own thoughts flow with
the text. Now that the book is of ficially in my hands, I can say I
am not disappointed.
With each vignette I feel as if I am trying to solve a crossword
puzzle. Within each piece of imagery is an elusion to the larger
theme, but only once all the pieces are assembled together do
we see the broader picture.
Here, then, are some more pieces of information to add to your
understanding of the magnificent picture that is:
The House on Mango Street
Warning: While I am aware that Power Points are suppose to aid presentations and therefor not contain large amounts of text, I am not
able to make this presentation during class. As a result, there will be a bit more text than usually expected from a Power Point.
Originally published in 1984
Won the Before Columbus Foundation’s American Book Award
The House on Mango Street has sold over 2 million copies
Genre said to be a Coming Of Age Story
BEFORE COLUMBUS FOUNDATION
―The Before Columbus Foundati on was founded in 1976 as a nonprofit
educational and ser vice organization dedicated to the promoti on and
dissemination of contemporar y American multicultural literature. The goals
of BCF are to provide recogniti on and a wider audience for the wealth of
cultural and ethnic diver sity that constitutes American writing. BCF has
always employed the term ―multicultural‖ not as a description of an aspect of
American literature, but as a definition of all American literature. BCF
believes that the ingredients of America's so -called ―melting pot‖ are not
only distinct, but integral to the unique constitution of American Culture -the
whole comprises the par ts,‖ (Before Columbus Foundation Website)
Ishmael Reed (founder of BCF) suggested
that there be an American Book Awards to
challenge the lack of diversity in The
Pulitzer Prizes and The National Book
STRONG ETHNIC THEMES
With such strong cultural and ethnic themes throughout, it is no
surprise that Sandra Cisneros would receive both strong praise
and equally strong criticism for The House On Mango Street…
You don’t have to look far for praise for The House On Mango
Street, the first page is bursting with kind words!
―The House On Mango Street is a book that will be
cherished for generations. With its tenderness, its humor, its
wide-eyed truth telling, Esperanza’s story becomes our
story, whether we’re Latinas or not.‖ –Cristina Garcia
But Cisneros also catches the eye of some more well known
"Cisneros draws on her rich [Latino] heritage...and
seduces with precise, spare prose, creat[ing] unforgettable
characters we want to lift of f the page. She is not only a gifted
writer, but an absolutely essential one." —Bebe Moore
Campbell, The New York Times Book Review
While doing my research I found this elusion to criticism based on Cisneros
―Some male Mexican- American critics have attacked the
novel, arguing that by writing about a character whose goal is to
leave the barrio (a neighborhood or community where most of the
residents are of Spanish -speaking origin), Cisneros has betrayed
the barrio, which they see as an important part of Mexican
tradition. Others have criticized the novel as encouraging
assimilation, labeling Cisneros a vendida, or sellout. Such critics
have condemned Cisneros for perpetuating what they see as
negative stereotypes of Mexican - American men (the wife beaters, the overbearing husbands), while at the same time
contending that the feminism Cisneros embraces was created by
However, this information was attained from SparkNotes and I have not been
able to find any direct quotati ons of these critiques referred to.
Authors look at the different
possible symbolisms in The House
On Mango Street
For your reading pleasure, and who knows, the
following interpretations could spark inspiration for
Monday’s Canvas class Forum…
―THERE AIN’T THIRT Y DIFFERENT KINDS
OF SNOW… THERE ARE TWO KINDS‖
An analysis of the imagery of snow
By Leslis Petty
At first glance, the girls' conver sation appear s to be a bit of childish
nonsense, and, on a sur face level, it is. Read in a broader
context, however, Nenny and Lucy's debate highlights a conflict that is
at the hear t of Cisneros's work: the insistence on culturally defining
the world by a rigid set of black/white, good/bad, clean/dir ty
dualities, ver sus the reality of individuality, uniqueness, and infinite
dif ferentiation. Cisneros comments on the dif ficulties inherent in this
clear-cut dichotomy, and she relates this binar y specifically to the
Mexican influences in her life and writing…
According to Cisneros, then, females, like the snow, are not seen in
Latino culture as unique individuals but are labeled as either "good"
women or "bad" women, as "clean" or "dir ty," as "virgins" or
HIGH HEELS MUST HAVE BEEN A MAN'S IDEA -"THEIR ASSES WILL LOOK GOOD AND THEY'LL BE
An analysis of the imagery of the high heel shoes
By Michelle Scalise Sugiyama
Why does Cinderella's fate hinge upon a shoe, of all things? Surely it
is no accident that the foot (as opposed to some other body par t)
features so prominently in the tale… The shoe motif enables the
reader to see that the power struggle taking place in the world of
Mango Street is intrasexual as well as inter sexual. The attempts of
the men in the stor y to control female sexuality can be divided into
two categories: (1) those that seek to blockade female sexuality, and
(2) those that seek to bombard it.
―BOOKS CONTINUE EACH OTHER, IN SPITE OF
OUR HABIT OF JUDGING THEM SEPARATELY‖ –
Comparing The House On Mango Street to ―A Room Of One’s
Own‖ by Virginia Woolf
By Jaqueline Doyle
The dilapidated series of apar tments and houses Esperanza inhabits
with her mother, father, sister, and two brother s --par ticularly their
dwelling on Mango Street --represents her pover ty, but also the
richness of her subject matter. "Like it or not you are Mango Street,"
her friend Alicia tells her, "and one day you'll come back too" (107).
"You must remember to come back ," the three aged sisters tell
her, "for the ones who cannot leave as easily as you" (105). A Room of
One's Own would seem to allow Esperanza this subject, even to
encourage it. "All these infinitely obscure lives remain to be
recorded," as Woolf told her young female audience. Pondering the
shopgirl behind the counter, she commented, "I would as soon have
her true histor y as the hundred and fif tieth life of Napoleon"
Anonymous. "About Sandra Cisneros." About Sandra Cisneros . N.p., 25
Sept. 201 2. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.
"Before Columbus Foundation." Wikipedia. Wikimedia Foundation, 10
Oct. 2013. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.
Wajahat, Ali. "Before Columbus Foundation." Before Columbus
Foundation. Before Columbus Foundation, n.d. Web. 28 Oct. 2013.
Petty, Leslis. "The "Dual"-Ing Images of La Malinche and La Virgen De
Guadalupe in Cisneros's the House on Mango Street." MELUS 25.2
(2000): 119 -32. ProQuest . 28 Oct. 2013 .
Michelle, Scalise Sugiyama. "Of Woman Bondage: The Eroticism of Feet
in the House on Mango Street." The Midwest Quar terly 41 .1 (1999): 9 20. ProQuest . 28 Oct. 2013 .
Doyle, Jacqueline. "More Room of Her Own: Sandra Cisneros's the
House on Mango Street." MELUS 19.4 (1994): 5. ProQuest. 28 Oct.