Free "The House on Mango Street" Book Report Sample
“The House on Mango Street” is a book written by Sandra Cisneros. This novel tells a story of a girl called Esperanza. Cisneros chooses a very interesting form of organization for her book. It is a collection of quite short vignettes describing Esperanza’s experiences. The events take place in a Chicago district where the majority of population belongs to Chicano or Latino ethnicity. The main aspiration of the protagonist is to leave this poor and sometimes rather cruel neighborhood and find a place, probably the house of her own, where she could find peace and harmony. Other main characters, like Esperanza’s friends Rachel, Lucy and Sally, also belong to this world, but they are not satisfied with what they get from their lives. The novel also explores the themes of self-defining, sexuality and gender issues. In many ways, Cisneros prioritizes her novel as a realistic and truthful account of the conditions of the poor mix-raced population and a tribute to the inner power of a human that can help overcome these difficulties.
Esperanza’s wish for a better life is immense, but she faces many significant problems on her way towards her life objective, beginning from the very first pages of the book. The scene where the family comes to the house on Mango Street gives clues to what kind of events will happen afterwards and what will surround the protagonist. The girl dreamt of a nice white house that can give her enough privacy, but what she sees is completely different. “Bricks are crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in”. This house is a symbol of the life Esperanza’s family and acquaintance will have – poor, full of problem and always in need of fixing.
Women in the novel experience much violence and aggression from the men who surround them. One of the first times when Esperanza faces the fact that her growing sexuality can cause her significant problems is the first day at her job. She agrees to give a birthday kiss to an older Oriental man from her job, but “he grabs my face with both hands and kisses me hard on the mouth and doesn’t let go”. It is not very clear how Esperanza reacted to this event, but it would be a mistake to suppose that despite its obvious negative character, this fact caused some depression in her soul. She is a remarkably strong and positive girl who always manages to find inner forces to counteract any negative impact from the outside world. It makes this book very inspiring and optimistic.
The last vignette called “Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes” strengthens the main ideas of the book. It shows that Esperanza has found a way to sooth the pain in her soul that is caused by the fact that she does not really belong to this place. She clearly realizes that if she leaves there for all her life, the only option she will have is to repeat the life of her friends or neighbors, like Minerva or Sally. However, Esperanza is determined to start a new life one day. She says, “One day I will say goodbye to Mango… One day I will go away”.
This novel is extremely truthful in depicting a life of a teenager that has to find her identity and determine the purposes of her life. It is understandable that the readers can easily identify themselves with the protagonist as the problems described by Cisneros are of universal nature. Everyone has sometimes experienced the same difficulties as Esperanza in one form or another. This book is a literary masterpiece that combines the analysis of crucial social and psychological problems with encouraging of the readers to strive hard to make their dreams come true.