The House on Mango Street
Directions: Read each statement carefully. Thoughtfully decide whether you agree or disagree with that statement. Place a check mark in the column that corresponds with your decision. Be prepared to defend your answers.
STATEMENT AGREE DISAGREE
1. It is most healthy for people to live around others of their own race. _______ _______
2. It is easy to judge someone by the kind of clothes they wear. _______ _______
3. The United States government should not allow any more people to immigrate to the U.S. _______ _______
4. Parents do not understand the problems that face teenagers today. _______ _______
5. People with money usually have more friends. _______ _______
6. Immigrants from Mexico do not do well in American schools. _______ _______
7. Home is a safe place. _______ _______
8. It is hard to be good friends with people who are different than you. _______ _______
9. Kids who are raised in slums usually end up drinking, doing drugs, and running with gangs. _______ _______
10. It is difficult for guys and girls to be good friends if they are not romantically interested in each other. _______ _______
The House on Mango Street
Write a few sentences telling how you would respond to each of these experiences:
Riding in a stolen Cadillac
Living in an ugly read house with three trees outside
Sharing a bike ride with two other passengers
Living illegally in the United States
Shopping in a used furniture store
Marrying to escape a bad home situation
Rising early to make tortillas with a rolling pin
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
“The House on Mango Street” pages 3-5
Who tells the story?
How does it feel to move? How does the storyteller feel about moving?
“Hairs” pages 6-7
Why does the storyteller tell about her family members’ hair?
What is “hair that smells like bread?”
“Boys and Girls” pages 8-9
Is the storyteller really a balloon as she says on page 9? Why is the balloon tied to an anchor a good description?
Why don’t Carlos and Kiki watch out for Nenny? Have you heard of such differentiation between expectations for boys and girls?
“My Name” pages 10-11
What is Esperanza’s attitude toward her name?
How do most children feel about their names? How do you feel about your own name?
Explain the statement, “but I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans, don’t like their women strong.”
“Cathy Queen of Cats” pages 12-13
What is distincitive about Cathy?
What does the neighborhood getting bad mean?
Do you think Cathy’s father will fly to France one day? Give reasons for your opinion.
“Our Good Day” pages 14-16
Who are Lucy and Rachel?
How does Cathy react to Lucy and Rachel? How does she reach her opinion?
“Laughter” pages 17-18
What is the special bond between Esperanza and Nenny? How is it expressed?
“Gil’s Furniture Bought and Sold” pages 19-20
How does the author describe Gil’s junk shop?
Why does Esperanza find the music box so fascinating?
“Meme Ortiz” pages 21-22
Who is Meme Ortiz? How old is he? How do you know?
What is ironic and childlike in this vignette?
“Louie, His Cousin and His Other Cousin” pages 23-25
Describe Louie’s cousins.
Why was Louie’s cousin put in handcuffs?
"Marin" pages 26-27
1. Who is Marin?
2. Why is she unable to leave her house?
3. How does she plan to change her situation?
4. Why do Esperanza and her friends admire her?
5. Where is Marin going in a year? Why?
"Those Who Don't" page 28
1. How do outsiders see Esperanza's neighborhood?
2. How does Esperanza feel when she visits other neighborhoods?
"There Was an Old Woman She Had So Many Children She Didn't Know What to Do" pages 29-30
1. Why does Rosa Vargas cry every day?
2. What does Esperanza say the Vargas children don’t have?
"Alicia Who Sees Mice" pages 31-32
What are Alicia’s dreams and goals for herself?
Why does Alicia bother with the tortilla star?
What is Alicia afraid of? Why?
“Darius and the Clouds” pages 33-34
“You can never have too much sky.” What does the statement mean? Is it true?
How is Darius in contrast to the clouds he describes?
“And Some More” pages 35-38
Why aren’t there any quotation marks in this chapter?
What are the folks in this chapter doing or talking about?
"The Family of Little Feet" pages 39-42
What does Esperanza’s naming of her neighbors tell you about her?
What adventures happened because of the lemon, red and pale blue shoes?
What do you think of the bum man?
Explain the last sentence of the vignette.
“A Rice Sandwich” pages 43-45
Who are the special kids?
Why does Esperanza want to stay at school and eat lunch in the canteen?
How does she convince her mother to let her stay for lunch?
How does staying for lunch work out for Esperanza?
“Chanclas” pages 46-48
Explain the title of the chapter.
Is Esperanza justified in being so concerned about her shoes?
“Hips” pages 49-52
Why does the author have a chapter about hips?
"The First Job" pages 53-55
What is Esperanza’s first job?
What are the pluses and minuses of this job?
“Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark” pages 56-57
Why is this a sad vignette?
What kind of life does Esperanza’s Papa have?
How does Esperanza grow up in this vignette?
“Born Bad” pages 58-61
Why does Esperanza feel guilty about Aunt Lupe?
How does Esperanza explain diseases?
What was special about Aunt Lupe?
What does the following statement mean: “You must keep writing. It will keep you free”?
“Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water” pages 62-64
What does the chapter describe?
What is Esperanza’s attitude toward the fortune-telling?
Cite instances of superstitions in the book.
What is a “home in the heart” and why is it disappointing?
“Geraldo No Last Name” pages 65-66
What happened to Geraldo?
Why was the surgeon so late in coming to work on Geraldo?
What is the author’s feeling about Geraldo?
“Edna’s Ruthie” pages 67-69
What is strange about Ruthie?
How can you explain Ruthie?
“The Earl of Tennessee” pages 70-71
Why would someone be named the Earl of Tennessee?
Why is Earl a mystery to the neighborhood children?
“Sire” pages 72-73
What do the questions in this chapter suggest about Esperanza’s thinking?
How is Lois a contradiction?
“Four Skinny Trees” pages 74-75
What do the four skinny trees remind Esperanza of?
2. Compare Esperanza and the city trees.
“No Speak English” pages 76-78
What is the color for this chapter? Why is it appropriate?
What three characteristics most define Mamacita?
How does the author feel about Mamacita?
“Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays” pages 79-80
What is the situation of the women on Mango Street?
“Sally” pages 81-83
What is Sally’s “problem”?
Esperanza imagines what Sally might wish for in contrast to her Mango Street existence. Where do these ideas originate? Are they realistic ideas?
“Minerva Writes Poems” pages 84-85
What do you think Minerva tells in her poems?
Describe the situation between Minerva and her husband?
“Bums in the Attic” pages 86-87
What is Esperanza’s growing feeling about her family’s Sunday outings?
2. Explain the chapter’s title.
“Beautiful & Cruel” pages 88-89
Esperanza has decided not to grow up tame. What does that mean?
What is Esperanza’s developing opinion of men? Think about the different men that she’s described in the book.
“A Smart Cookie” pages 90-91
How is Esperanza different from her mother? How does she resemble her mother?
What advice would Esperanza’s mother give her?
Point out the irony in this chapter.
How does this saying relate to the chapter, “Good judgment comes from experience. Experience comes from bad judgment”?
“What Sally Said” pages 92-93
What is the main topic of this chapter?
Why did Sally go home with her father from Esperanza’s house?
“The Monkey Garden” pages 94-98
How did the monkey garden start to decay?
How did Sally’s comment on page 96, “Play with the kids if you want…I’m staying here” tell about her changes?
Why did Esperanza develop a headache?
What did Esperanza learn from the incidents in this chapter?
“Red Clowns” pages 99-100
What did Sally lie about?
How can you describe the mood in the “Red Clowns” chapter?
How is the title “Red Clowns” ironic?
Why don’t the teenage boys call Esperanza by her name?
“Linoleum Roses” pages 101-102
What is Sally’s fate?
What kind of contrasts does the author create in this chapter?
How does the author feel about Sally’s husband? How do you know?
“The Three Sisters” pages 103-105
Where does Esperanza meet the three sisters?
Why do they predict Esperanza’s future? What is the prediction?
Explain the following statement: “You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are.”
“Alicia & I Talking on Edna’s Steps” pages 106-107
Why does Esperanza feel sad?
What does Mango Street need to make it better?
What is Esperanza’s opinion of the mayor?
“A House of My Own” page 108
How does Esperanza define a house of her own?
“Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes” pages 109-110
What is the mood at the end of the book?
Creative Group Project
Think back to times when you played Monopoly or Life. In one way or another the objectives of those games and the decisions you made throughout those games represented something familiar in your life. Just as those games can represent things in your life so could a game represent things in Esperanza’s life.
In a group of 3-4 students, you will create a board game that represents the novel, House on Mango Street.
The game board should be made from heavy cardboard so that it can withstand actual playing. Yes, we will play the games for FUN!
Some other things to consider as your group is working on the game:
Will the game be square or circular?
What type of game pieces will you have?
How will the players advance game pieces? (cards, dice, etc.)
What is the objective of the game?
How many people can play?
What are the rules? (You will have to include written rules with your game.)
What aspects of the book can be included in your game?
Now, you are surely wondering how you will be graded for this project.
First, this is a group project and I expect all members of the group to do equal work. You will not receive equal grades if it becomes apparent to me that one person is doing more work than another is.
Second, this is a creative project. Creativity is a large portion of the grade.
Lastly, the final grading scale:
Creativity: 0-25 points
Game pieces included: 0-10 points
Rules included (and they work): 0-15 points
The game is reflective of the novel: 0-25 points
TOTAL POSSIBLE: 75 points!
Sandra Cisneros tells her readers that she decided to write her novel, The House on Mango Street, because "you will always be Mango Street. You can't erase what you know. You can't forget who you are." The purpose of this project is to create your own book which will help you remember what you know, as well as show others who you are.
Your book must have the following items:
* An Original Cover (10 points)
* Title/Title Page (5 points)
* Dedication (5 points)
* Table of Contents (5 points)
* 10 Chapters (see below) (10 points each)
TOTAL POSSIBLE: 125 points
Note: You will NOT receive ANY POINTS AT ALL for any book that is turned in that has less than 5 completed chapters.
Your chapters must be chosen from the following subjects:
Games or Favorite Toys from your Childhood
A Time You Got Into Trouble
A Time You Saw Someone Else Get Into Trouble
Advice From an Adult
A Positive Story From Your Experiences at School
A Negative Story From Your Experiences at School
A Special Family Member
A Happy Time For You
Going to Work
A Special Holiday
A Special Birthday
The Big Game
Life in southern Illinois
1 Additional Chapter on anything you wish
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Directions: Find specific words and phrases that are evidence that the narrator is thirteen years old.
“The House on Mango Street”
“Boys and Girls”
The House on Mango Street
Directions: Tell what each quote means to you.
“Stairs inside like the houses on T.V.” (page 4)
“Hair that smells like bread” (page 7)
“I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor” (page 9)
“Laughing the crooked ride back.” (page 16)
“Fat Popsicle lips” (page 17)
“The nose of that yellow Cadillac was all pleated like an alligator’s” (page 25)
“Those two green apples you call eyes” (page 27)
“The tortilla star” (page 31)
“You can never have too much sky” (page 33)
“You are like the Cream of Wheat cereal.” (page 37)
“My feet swell big and heavy like plungers” (page 47)
“Ready and waiting like a new Buick with the keys in the ignition” (page 49)
“A home in the heart: (page 64)
“Leap and somersault like an apostrophe and comma” (page 71)
“Eyes like Egypt and nylons the color of smoke” (page 81)
“Sad like a house on fire” (page 84)
“They smiled and waved in their smoky way.” (page 105)
“You are Mango Street: (page 107)
“House quiet as snow” (page 108)
“The house I belong to but do not belong to” (page 110)
The House on Mango Street
Directions: In the space provided, write the definition of the word. The numbers tell what page you can find the word.
Esta Muerto (56):
Los espiritues (63):
Fuchsia roses (76):
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros Quiz
____1. Who makes Esperanza feel ashamed of her previous house by making her point it out while she is playing in the street? A) Cathy B) A marshmallow salesman C) A priest D) A nun
____2. When Esperanza talks about clouds and hips with her friends, how does she describe them? A) Metaphorically B) With respect to her everyday life C) Scientifically D) With the names of people on her block
____3. What do Esperanza and her friends do to imitate grown-ups? A) Put on makeup B) Wear high-heeled shoes C) Smoke cigarettes D) Dye their hair
____4. What is Esperanza’s first job? A) Working in a store B) Helping Marin sell cosmetics C) Shelving books at the local library D) Sorting negatives at a photofinisher
____5. Where is Esperanza’s father from? A) Mexico B) The Dominican Republic C) Puerto Rico D) Spain
____6. Why does Cathy agree to be Esperanza’s friend only until Tuesday? A) She has too many cats B) Esperanza decides to buy a bike with Lucy and Rachel C) Her family is moving out of the neighborhood D) She has to go back to France
____7. In what way is Nenny similar to Esperanza? A) They have the same hair B) They make up similar jump-rope rhymes C) They both want to eat at the canteen at school D) They have the same sense of humor
____8. Which of the following is NOT a reason that hips are useful, according to Esperanza, Rachel, and Lucy? A) They are good for dancing B) They are useful for propping up a baby while cooking C) They attract boys D) They differentiate the male skeleton from the female one
____9. What does Nenny want to buy in Gil’s junk shop? A) A music box B) A little Statue of Liberty C) A refrigerator D) High-heeled shoes
____10. Why doesn’t Esperanza want to dance at her cousin’s baptismal party? A) She doesn’t have hips B) She thinks her dress is ugly C) Nobody asks her to dance D) She is wearing her old school shoes
These writing prompts can be used for “do now’ activities or homework
Prompt related to chapter
Describe your own hair and someone else's in an unusual, poetic way.
"Boys & Girls"
Who are you? Try to capture the essence of yourself in poetic images.
If you could name yourself, what would you choose? Why do you pick this name?
Pick a family trait that you have or others in your family have and describe it using imaginative language.
Describe your neighborhood using interesting words and phrases.
"Those Who Don't"
Describe one place that makes you feel safe and secure, and one place that makes you feel awkward and insecure.
Pick something from your world and describe it from a child's perspective.
"The First Job"
Esperanza loses some of her innocence because she is young and unsuspecting. Tell about a time that you or someone you know felt exploited because of youth and innocence.
We all encounter people who somehow affect us even though we don't know them well. Describe someone who has shared a bit of your life and made an impression on you.
"The Earl of Tennessee"
Re-read paragraph three which describes the familiar sounds Esperanza hears each night. Listen to the familiar sounds in your life, and describe them in words.
"Four Skinny Trees"
Pick something familiar to you, around your house or school or neighborhood, and write a prose poem.
"Sally" "Minerva Writes Poems"
As you grow and age, you can recognize problems. Choose someone you know who has a problem or some sadness in life, and try to capture it in a description.
"A Smart Cookie"
Do you know anyone who had a dream but never realized it? What about you? What are your dreams, and how can you make sure you don't let them escape?
"What Sally Said"
Sally is being physically abused. Her story is ugly, but it captures the sickness of the abused and the abuser. Can you capture the essence of an unpleasant situation in words, something you have seen or heard. (Please protect those involved by changing names.)
The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros
Multiple Choice (3 points each)
___1. Who makes Esperanza feel ashamed of her previous house by making her point it out while she is playing in the street? A) Cathy B) A marshmallow salesman C) A priest D) A nun
___2. Who pushes Esperanza into the water in front of a fire hydrant? A) Kiki and Carlos B) Darius C) Sire D) Tito
___3. Who does Esperanza decide to let live in the attic of her dream house? A) Bums B) A cat C) Her little sister, Nenny D) Her friend Minerva
___4. When Esperanza talks about clouds and hips with her friends, how does she describe them? A) Metaphorically B) With respect to her everyday life C) Scientifically D) With the names of people on her block
___5. What do Esperanza and her friends do to imitate grown-ups? A) Put on makeup B) Wear high-heeled shoes C) Smoke cigarettes D) Dye their hair
___6. Which one of these women does NOT spend her days sitting by the window? A) Esperanza’s great-grandmother B) Esperanza’s mother C) Rafaela D) Mamacita
___7. Who is the first person to whom Esperanza recites one of her poems? A) Her mother B) Her Aunt Lupe C) Ruthie D) Lucy, Rachel, and Nenny
___8. What is Esperanza’s first job? A) Working in a store B) Helping Marin sell cosmetics C) Shelving books at the local library D) Sorting negatives at a photofinisher
___9. Where is Esperanza’s father from? A) Mexico B) The Dominican Republic C) Puerto Rico D) Spain
___10. What does Esperanza’s name mean in Spanish? A) “Wisdom” B) “Horse” C) “Hope” D) “Serenity”
___11. Why did Esperanza’s mother drop out of school? A) She got married B) She had a job C) She had to move to America D) She was ashamed of her clothes
___12. What do the three sisters tell Esperanza at the wake? A) That she should leave Mango Street as soon as she can B) That she must come back for the others after she’s left Mango Street C) That she will never leave Mango Street D) That she has a home in the heart
___13. Which of Esperanza’s friends also writes poetry? A) Alicia B) Minerva C) Marin D) Ruthie
___14. Where is Esperanza when a group of boys sexually assaults her? A) In the Monkey Garden B) At a carnival C) On Mango Street D) At work
___15. Which character does not speak English? A) Esperanza’s father B) Marin C) Mamacita D) Tito
___16. Who is the object of Esperanza’s first crush? A) Sire B) Tito C) Darius D) Geraldo
___17. Why does Cathy agree to be Esperanza’s friend only until Tuesday? A) She has too many cats B) Esperanza decides to buy a bike with Lucy and Rachel C) Her family is moving out of the neighborhood D) She has to go back to France
___18. In what way is Nenny similar to Esperanza? A) They have the same hair B) They make up similar jump-rope rhymes C) They both want to eat at the canteen at school D) They have the same sense of humor
___19. Which of the following is NOT a reason that hips are useful, according to Esperanza, Rachel, and Lucy? A) They are good for dancing B) They are useful for propping up a baby while cooking C) They attract boys D) They differentiate the male skeleton from the female one
___20. How does Esperanza decide to defy social conventions at home? A) She doesn’t do her dishes B) She refuses to baby-sit her sister, Nenny C) She refuses to pick up garbage D) She goes out with Sire against her parents’ wishes
___21. With what object or objects in the neighborhood does Esperanza identify most closely? A) Her house B) The huge tree in Meme Ortiz’s backyard C) The four trees in her front yard D) The abandoned car in the Monkey Garden
___22. What does Nenny want to buy in Gil’s junk shop? A) A music box B) A little Statue of Liberty C) A refrigerator D) High-heeled shoes
___23. What does Esperanza yearn for above all else? A) A new name B) A home of her own C) To become a famous writer D) To leave Mango Street
___24. Which of Esperanza’s friends attends college? A) Minerva B) Alicia C) Sally D) Cathy
___25. Why doesn’t Esperanza want to dance at her cousin’s baptismal party? A) She doesn’t have hips B) She thinks her dress is ugly C) Nobody asks her to dance D) She is wearing her old school shoes
True/False (1 point each)
_________26. Esperanza especially likes her name because it identifies her Hispanic heritage.
_________27. Sally is an abused child.
_________28. Esperanza decides that eating lunch at school isn’t so appealing after she tries it once.
_________29. Esperanza’s grandmother comes to live with them.
_________30. Esperanza thinks she’ll go to hell because she played a game mocking her Aunt Lupe.
Essay – Choose one of the following essay topics. (20 points)
Each individual vignette is short and often simple, but the impact of all of them together is very powerful.
The character I’ll most remember from The House on Mango Street is____________. Explain your answer.
Houses and neighborhoods reflect their inhabitants.