Mango—The Story “I’m the sum of all the stories that pass through me.” ; My Name ; Mango—Inspriation; Arts and Words, Sandra Cisneros on Mango (“Beautiful & Cruel”); Mango—A Select Scene 2/3 (“Chanclas”)
Day 2: Half the hour on naming strip & collecting FT $ Then cover slides 7-11. Writing prompt: stephanie’s bell ringers—choose one.
HW: ft $ and Mango/sg due Friday: day 2: slides 7-10, one true sentence, bell ringer-modifiers
Day 3: ACT writing; slides 11-15. Introduce vignette assignment.
Slides 16-17 together
Use after kids have turned in 8 beads, neclace, and 1 vignette. Slides 18-19 together Or Day 4: writing prompt: Viewing room of your life w/ one of those beads. Slides 16-20. Vignette q-a & sample. Ask kids to think about how their stories progress (order) & if they hang tog.
Day 5: reflection in journal. Test—mult. Choice & choose some of stephanie’s short answer
The House on Mango Street
The House on Mango Street
1. You will understand and
writing devices like
metaphor, imagery, and
2. You will then use Mango
as a springboard to
create your own thesis
for one central theme
for the exam
The House on Mango Street
1. What role does our
family, culture, and
community play in
1. How can reading one
woman’s story of self-
acceptance and purpose
help us find our own
while telling it in an
honest, authentic voice?
1. How can a writer use
techniques to express
point of view and voice?
About Sandra Cisneros
• Born: Chicago in l954
• the third child and only
daughter in a family of
• Occupations: teacher and
counselor to high-school
dropouts, taught creative
writing at every level
except first grade and pre-
school, a college recruiter,
an arts administrator, and
as a visiting writer
Growing Up in Chicago
• Born in the Hispanic Quarter of
Chicago in 1954
• Mexican-American (Chicana)
• She was the only girl in a family of
seven, and grew up in poverty
• Her parents emphasized education
• Her family moved often; she was shy
and introverted, but connected with her
community privately through writing
Becoming a Writer
• Attended Loyola University in Chicago
as an English major
• Decided to become a writer
• Attended the Iowa Writer’s Workshop,
a graduate school for young writers
• Was afraid her unprivileged
background would put her at a
disadvantage in the literary world
• However, her heritage gave her the
unique voice that shaped her career
Books by Sandra Cisneros
• Bad Boys, Mango Press: San Jose, California, 1980
• The House on Mango Street , (Arte Publico Press: Houston, Texas, l984),
Vintage: New York, 1991.
• Woman Hollering Creek, Random House: New York, 1991
• My Wicked Wicked Ways, (Third Woman Press: Berkeley, California, l987),
Random House: New York, 1992
• La Casa En Mango Street, translated by Elena Poniatowska, Vintage
Español, New York, 1994.
• Loose Woman, Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1994.
• Hairs/Pelitos, Alfred A. Knopf: New York, 1994. Spanish translation by Liliana
• Caramelo, Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 2002. Spanish edition translated by
• Vintage Cisneros, Vintage, New York, 2004.
Sandra Cisneros’ Inspiration & Story
• “I am the sum of all
stories that pass
through me.” And so
• What do you know?
What can you write
about that no one else
can write about?
• Writers block means
you’re afraid to say what
you really mean to say.
What is a Vignette?
• A short, well written sketch or descriptive scene.
• It does not have a plot which would make it a short
story, but it does reveal something about the
elements in it.
• It may reveal character, mood, or tone.
• It may have a theme or idea of its own that it wants to
• It is the description of the scene or character that is
• By linking these vignettes, Cisneros attempts to reveal the
life of a young girl, a daughter of Mexican immigrants,
growing up in the inner city of the United States.
Genre: Is this a novel?
• Well, maybe it is a novella.
• It is hard to categorize Cisneros’ work and just
because we cannot does not mean that the work
is in any way diminished.
• In fact, it may enhance its reputation in many
• Cisneros breaks the rules.
• She writes a work of fiction and she does not
follow the conventional rules of plot or form.
Read and Respond
“The House on Mango
Street” (3-5) “My Name” (10-11)
The House on Mango Street: Narrator
• The work is narrated by Esperanza Cordero,
thirteen, a Chicana girl in Chicago.
• Although told in the voice of a young girl, it
addresses mature subject matter.
• In English, Esperanza means hope, and also,
• This choice of name is significant in the novel:
the character and her independence represent
a way out of the slums.
• As she watches her neighborhood, she decides
that she will not become like the women she
knows, trapped and powerless in a man’s
The House on Mango Street:
• Mango Street symbolizes both Esperanza’s ball and chain and her
• In the beginning of the novel, she is disappointed with the house on
• She finds that she is not like the other residents of Mango, that she
can and will find the strength to leave her life there.
• She realizes that Mango is a part of her, and where she comes from is
as important as where she’s going.
• She knows she must come back, to help the others who are trapped
• Cisneros’s writing is very imagistic. She makes unexpected
comparisons between things to give connotations to what she
The House on Mango Street Themes
1. Individual identity
2. Estrangement and
3. Escape and return
4. Lure of romance
and the dead end of
sexual inequality &
• It speaks especially to
Latino Americans, but
it captures universal
pangs (of growing up
and finding oneself of)
shame of being poor,
of being female, of
• Mango suggests from
where that otherness
comes and shows how
it can become a cause
for celebration rather
“You, the reader, are
forget who you are.”
A Deceptive Work
1. Language seems simple but it possesses the
richness of poetry.
2. Slang and breaks from grammatical correctness
contribute to immediacy.
3. Narrated in a young voice, yet it's convincing
because it's the creation of a mature and
4. Stories come together to tell one complete story.
5. Apparent randomness disguises an artful
exploration of themes.
A common misconception…
with The House on Mango Street is that it is
concise and readable, so therefore it must be
Do not be fooled.
Cisneros is sending you a message about what
it is like for people growing up in the world.
The House on Mango Street: Characters
• Alicia, the medical student who is still bound to her old fears.
• Marin, who waits.
• Beautiful Rafaela, the modern-day Rapunzel.
• Rosa Vargas, with too many children, crying for the husband who
• Mamacita, who dreams of the pink house she left behind and refuses
to speak English.
• Sally, the subject of abuse until she marries, to escape, before eighth
grade, and moves from Mango Street into into another sort of trap.
• And then there is Esperanza, who is like the skinny trees outside her
tiny window, who longs for a house all her own, who starts her own
The House on Mango Street: Significance
• This is Cisneros’s first novel.
• It is a way to relate her cultural
identity to her life and the lives of
• Cisneros seeks to break the cycle
of defeats that women suffered
due to social and religious
• Esperanza is an outlet for the
author’s views on the perceptions
of women in her milieu.
Life Lesson According to Cisneros
1. The world does not love you
the way you are loved at
2. Pain gives you a special vision
—a vision to help others who
3. Horrible experiences are
there to guide you.
4. Welcome rage, shame, and
grief especially if you have a
reason to feel them.
5. Humility is essential to
finding your voice and
Progression of House on Mango Street
Begins with self & family
(comfort), moves to friends
(Nenny, unknowingly her
closest friend), wanting to
grow up, experiences harsh
realities (coat room and
death), other women and
the role they take on, signs
from other women that
Esperanza should stay
strong and be more, and a
willingness to get out and
• http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=v2Axoc2K1rU (“Chanclas”
and “Beautiful and Cruel”)
The House on Mango Street: Structure
• The novel is told as a series of
vignettes, 1-4 pages each
• There is no real chronological plot, but
a series of insights into Esperanza’s
thoughts and feelings.
• The vignettes show the trends in
behavior in the community and
provide a contrast between strength
and weakness, between freedom and
• The novel is dedicated A Las Mujeres,
To the Women.
Structure of Vignettes
• 1-39…Introduces narrator and
• 43-70…Esperanza describes the
world beyond Mango St.
Despites disappointments, she
• 72-84…Focus on Esperanza and
the people around her;
portraits of other women
• 86-90…Esperanza describes her
family & her interactions with
• 92-101…Esperanza continues to
dream and mature…& the
progression with Sally (note
• 103-109…Return to Mango
Street & home as the subject of
• Based on these abstractions,
what might be the thread
(thesis) that holds these
beads (vignettes) together?
Showing versus Telling
• Telling: It was foggy.
The yellow fog that rubs its back upon the window-panes
The yellow smoke that rubs its muzzle on the window-panes
Licked its tongue into the corners of the evening,
Lingered upon the pools that stand in drains,
Let fall upon its back the soot that falls from chimneys,
Slipped by the terrace, made a sudden leap,
And seeing that it was a soft October night,
Curled once about the house, and fell asleep.
- excerpt from "The Love Song of J. Alfred
Prufrock" by T.S. Eliot
Telling & Abstracting Vs.
Showing & Concreteness
In “Chanclas” Cisneros paints
the picture. We deduce that
• Note details that paint the
picture: repetition, imagery,
juxtaposition, allusion, shift
in point of view, economy.
This is the stuff that makes
the writing concrete.
• Look at vignette. What is it
about? What does the
picture show us? That is the
• You provide the picture. Let
the reader deduce the
• A narrator whose account
of events appears to be
faulty, misleadingly biased,
or distorted, so that it
departs from the ‘true’
understanding of events
shared between the reader
and the implied author.
• The discrepancy between
the unreliable narrator's
view of events and the view
that readers suspect to be
more accurate creates a
sense of irony.
• The term does not
necessarily mean that such a
narrator is morally
untrustworthy or a habitual
liar, he may simply be
harmlessly naïve, ‘fallible’, or
• Write in the voice that was
you at that age.
• “The Earl of Tennesse”
“Cathy,” &“Empty Tree Skirt”
Purple Prose—Laying It on Too Thick
writing that's just too flowery, too
melodramatic, too over the top
‐ in short, too overdone.
Examples of Purple Prose:
• rosy fingers of dawn
• I was an alien out of this world
• Butterflies in __________
• King of the ____________
Better Use of Metaphor:
• Cars in the frigid cold
sputtered, as if gasping for
• I wrap myself in my pink
armour (reference to her pink
• Identify one vignette
from The House on
Mango Street that
affected you in some
• “This isn’t about me
understanding the book. It’s
about me understanding
myself.” ~Jose Oliver
• For more biographical information:
• For more analysis of The House on Mango Street:
• To buy books by Sandra Cisneros:
• Teaching resources for Cisneros’s works:
• Modified this original Power Point from:
– The House on Mango Street.ppt
– Sandra Cisneros.ppt