Students explore the American experience through the eyes of a young Latina girl as she struggles to define herself in relation to her community.
Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street is the story of Esperanza, a second generation Chicana (Mexican-American) girl living in a low-income neighborhood in Chicago. The novella, structured as a series of vignettes, spans a year in the life of young teen Esperanza, allowing the reader a window into her world through first-person narration.
Through this text, students will study the relationship between a person’s environment and the formation of their identity. They will think about the way that Cisneros develops the reader’s understanding of the physical and cultural setting that Esperanza inhabits, and also how she develops Esperanza’s unique perspective on the world around her.
Because this is a shorter text, students will spend a significant amount of time engaged in close reading and rereading, thinking about the way that analysis of author’s craft leads to a deeper understanding of the text’s meaning. While The House on Mango Street is accessible to young adult readers due to relatively straightforward language and a structure of short vignettes, Cisneros nevertheless conveys complex themes about poverty, dreams, gender, and power through nuanced events in a character’s life.
The House on Mango Street continues students’ year-long study of what it means to be American, as it provides a nuanced picture of Mexican-American experience, as well as raising questions about what it means to be young and female in America.
Some of the links below are Amazon affiliate links. This means that if you click and make a purchase, we receive a small portion of the proceeds, which supports our non-profit mission.
Book: The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros (Second Vintage Contemporaries Edition, 2009) — 870L
Article: “Most Teenage Girls Still Experience Sexual Harassment” by Jennifer McNulty
Article: “This is what happens when gender roles are forced on kids” by Emanuella Grinberg and Victoria Larned (CNN)
This assessment accompanies Unit 4 and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.
defy demeaning evocate preoccupied rigid stigma strut trudge
allusion figurative language metaphor mood perspective simile symbol tone vignette
To see all the vocabulary for this course, view our 7th Grade Vocabulary Glossary.
HOMS pp. 3 – 9
Explain how Esperanza views her home and how living there impacts her identity.
HOMS pp. 10 – 16
Explain how specific literary devices, words, and phrases reveal aspects of characters and their perspectives.
HOMS pp. 17 – 28
Explain how Cisneros develops Esperanza’s perspective and contrasts it with other characters in the text.
HOMS pp. 29 – 42
“There Was an Old Woman...”
Describe how Cisneros uses references to nursery rhymes and fairy tales to communicate meaning.
HOMS pp. 10 – 11 — "My Name"
Describe the structure of the first and last paragraphs of “My Name” and use descriptive, figurative language in their own writing.
HOMS pp. 10 – 11 — "My Name"
Establish a narrator’s point of view and introduce at least one additional character to their vignette.
HOMS pp. 43 – 55
Identify Esperanza’s perspective, how it changes, and how it differs from other characters' in the text.
HOMS pp. 56 – 64
Explain how Cisneros uses word choice and figurative language to develop tone and meaning.
HOMS pp. 65 – 78
Explain how Cisneros develops and contrasts characters’ perspectives of themselves and of other people.
“Most Teenage Girls...”
“This is what happens...”
Describe the impact of gender norms on the lives of young teenagers around the world.
HOMS pp. 94 – 98
Explain how Cisneros uses figurative language and symbolism to develop meaning in the vignette, “The Monkey Garden.”
HOMS pp. 103 – 110
Describe how Esperanza’s relationship to Mango Street has changed by the end of the text.
Take a clear position on a question and share evidence to support that point of view for a Socratic Seminar on The House on Mango Street.
Explain the expectations of the writing task and begin to gather evidence from The House on Mango Street.
Construct a strong thesis statement and compose an effective introduction.
Draft a conclusion and revise essay for clarity, mechanics, and organization.
Identify independent and subordinate clauses and differentiate between simple, compound, and complex sentences