Sample Book Review on The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street

            The House on Mango Street is a collection of stories detailing the life of Esperanza Cordero. The book consists of short independent stories recollecting her life, the neighbors and neighborhoods. Esperanza is both the main character as well as the narrator of this book. The story begins when she moves to a house on the Mango Street (Cisneros 12). Although the house is better than the previous residences, it is obviously not the family’s dream house. However, it is arguably the most memorable place she has lived because it reflects her upbringing as well as her heritage.

Over time, Esperanza grows sexually, emotionally, and even artistically as she interacts with neighbors and friends. Other than her younger sister Nenny, Esperanza meets other two friends Lucy and Rachel. It is through the adventures with her friends that Esperanza explores about racism, poverty, and the unfaithfulness in the society. The experiences also build Esperanza artistically because her love for music and poetry grows dramatically (Cisneros 33). Alongside Esperanza’s chronicles, the book describes the neighbors through portraits. Most of the portraits portray women in some difficulty situations. While Mamacita cannot leave her house because she fears the English Language, Rafaela is locked in the house by her husband because she is beautiful. Alicia, who is a college student studies all night so that she can get a good job, but her father always distracts her with house chores. There are others like Minerva who is a poet with a family to take care of and a cruel husband. In the book, most of Esperanza’s female friends or neighbors are tortured by their fathers or husbands.

As Esperanza grows and matures, her goal is to escape the male chauvinism. In order to deal with men’s cruelty and at the same time her desire to find love, she decides to live like the women in the moves who find love and retain their power altogether. The Male chauvinism and oppression experiences at Mango Street makes Esperanza want to escape. Towards the end of the book, Esperanza remains in the same house, but she is far too mature and strong to remain there forever (Cisneros 121). She believes that financial independence and education will let her escape Mango Street, but she vows to return to rescue those who are not strong like her.

The book successfully reaches out to the young girls, the immigrants and everyone else struggling to succeed. The story of Esperanza serves as an inspiration to the readers and teaches us that struggling is part of life, but somehow we can manage to succeed. What I find outstanding in this book is the author’s ability to skillfully relate the story of Esperanza with women’s struggle to discover their identity against the backdrop of male chauvinism, racism, poverty, and much more which always prevent them from being whom the kind of people they want to be. The book plays out various themes including sexuality, independence, the struggle for identity, and male domination (Thornburg 54).

Sandra Cisneros skillfully uses various symbols such as shoes, trees, and poems to represent concepts. While shoes evoke images of adult femininity and sex, trees bring admiration and enhance the appearance, resilience, and independence of the people of Mango Street. The author also uses small poems throughout the text to emphasize the importance of language to both the main character and the neighbors (Thornburg 65). The book evokes emotions because the story is told from the innocence of adolescents, but the hard reality makes the reader sympathize with the characters throughout the text. For these reasons, the book stands out from other short stories and is arguably the most sought-after novel.



Works Cited

Cisneros, Sandra. The House on Mango Street. , 2015. Print.

Thornburg, Mary K. P. Cliffs notes, the House on Mango Street & “woman Hollering Creek” and Other Stories. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley Pub, 2001. Print