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Finding Home: The House on Mango Street

Lesson 10


Explain how Sandra Cisneros uses literary devices to develop mood and meaning.

Readings and Materials

  • Book: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros  pp. 56 – 64

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Target Task


Writing Prompt

How do the words that Cisneros uses on page 60 to describe Aunt Lupe’s apartment develop the mood of the scene? Provide specific words and phrases to support your idea.

Key Questions


  • On page 56, Cisneros uses the simile that Papa “crumples like a coat and cries.” What does this simile mean? What impact does this image have on the reader?
  • Pre-read pages 58 and 59. What words does Cisneros use to describe Aunt Lupe before she became ill? What words does she use to describe her when she is sick? How are the connotations of these words different?
  • On p. 59, Cisneros writes, “But I think diseases have no eyes. They pick with a dizzy finger anyone, just anyone.” What kind of figurative language is this example (if your students have encountered personification before; otherwise teach this concept before this lesson)? What idea is the author literally trying to convey? Explain.
  • Discussion: Why does Esperanza say that she is “born bad” and that she will “go to hell”? Do you agree that she should be ashamed of what she did? Why did she act that way? Have you ever done something that you thought was funny in the moment but later regretted?

Lesson Guidance

Standard and Literary Concepts

  • If you have not already discussed literary devices with students, today is a good opportunity to review the concepts of simile, metaphor, and personification, and why an author might use them in their writing. Refresh students’ understanding of denotation/connotation, if needed.
    • Simile: A comparison between two unlike things, using “like” or “as” to indicate that a comparison is being made.
    • Personification: Giving human qualities to a non-human entity or concept.
    • Metaphor: A comparison made between two unlike things.
    • Denotation: The literal meaning of a word; the dictionary definition.
    • Connotation: The ideas and feelings that a word suggests, beyond its literal meaning.
    • Mood: The emotional “atmosphere” of a scene in a text, which often evokes feelings in the reader.
  • The specific words and literary devices that authors choose help readers better understand the events and emotions of the world created in a text.


  • Note that Aunt Lupe is one of the first people to encourage Esperanza to be a writer.


  • Read The House on Mango Street, pages 65–75. Read and take notes. Think about what it means to be an insider and an outsider on Mango Street.

Enhanced lesson plan

Enhanced Lesson Plan

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Coming Soon:
January 2021


Common Core Standards

  • L.7.5 — Demonstrate understanding of figurative language, word relationships, and nuances in word meanings.

  • RL.7.4 — Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of rhymes and other repetitions of sounds (e.g., alliteration) on a specific verse or stanza of a poem or section of a story or drama.