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Name:

Directions
• Read The House on Mango Street, pages 6-25 (through “Louie, His Cousin & His Other
Cousin”)
• Respond to the following in complete sentences. Make sure to answer every part of the
question.

1. In "Hairs," Esperanza describes her mother’s hair as being "like little candy circles all curly
and pretty." How does Esperanza’s hair compare to her mother’s?
Esperanza’s hair is lazy and never works with hair barrettes and she thinks of her hair very
negatively while praising the hair of her mother.

2. Esperanza goes on to describe what her mother’s hair smells like. What do you think
Esperanza must feel about her mother based on the descriptions?
I believe that Esperanza thinks very highly of her mom and pretty much wants to be her as she
grows older. I also think that she finds comfort in her mother due to the fact that she gives
examples of times where she was comfortable in her mothers presence while commenting on
the smell of her hair.

3. In Boys & Girls, Esperanza says, “…I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor.” This is a
metaphor. What does this metaphor mean?
She is saying that she is stuck in her place until something lets her go.

4. In “My Name,” What is the purpose of the narrator sharing the story about her grandmother?
Esperanza is giving background on her name to explain to the reader why she doesn’t like her
name. She gives the history of the bad life that her grandmother had with the name and how
she doesn’t want the same outcome as her.

5. Cathy, a child who lives near Esperanza, gives her a summary of all the people in the
neighborhood. What does Cathy say that might upset Esperanza?
Cathy tells Esperanza about two raggedy girls that live across. Cathy watned her to never get
to know them.

6. In “Our Good Day,” Esperanza meets some neighborhood girls. What is important about the
way these girls treat Esperanza compared to the way others have treated her? (Cathy, the nun, her
classmates and teachers)
Whenever Esperanza tells the girls her name, she is afraid that they are going to make fun of
her. However, they just go about their conversation unlike other people who have judged her
in the past.

7. In "Gil’s Furniture Bought and Sold," Cisneros describes the sound of an old music box: "It’s
like all of a sudden he let go a million moths all over the dusty furniture and swan-neck shadows
in our bones." This technique, in which a sound is described in terms of things seen and felt, is
called synesthesia. What feeling is the author trying to convey through this description?
The author is trying to explain that the sounds of the music box was not a pleasant experience
at all and was almost scary.

8. Although Esperanza is clever and often very perceptive, she is still a child, and Cisneros
sometimes shows her failing to see the significance of things that would be obvious to someone
older. An example can be found when Esperanza and her friends take a ride in a flashy car driven
by Louie’s cousin, who is promptly arrested by the police. An adult might be suspicious about
the new car and would probably not wave when Louie was taken away.
What is the effect of making Esperanza what is sometimes called an "unreliable narrator"? Are
there any other instances so far where Esperanza doesn’t seem to understand something that is
obvious to the reader? Give examples
Since Esperanza is an unreliable narrator because of her age, it gives a view into how younger
children place the importance of things in their life. For example, she was so caught up in the
idea of making friends that she was willing to give up hers and her sisters money just for that.
She wasn’t worried about how upset her sister would be. She was more concerned about the
idea of new friends.

9. SEE EXAMPLE BELOW


Choose one of the vignettes in this section (pgs 6-25) and then answer the following:
1. Title of the vignette: My name
2.Topic of the vignette (this must be different from the title, use your own words): gives the
description and history of Esperanza’s name.
3. Theme (What is the author saying about that topic? What is the message about that topic?):
your name doesn’t determine the person you are
4. Evidence to support: “I have inherited her name, but I don’t want to inherit her place by the
window.”
5. Explanation: Esperanza give the meaning behind her name but only talks bad about it. She
believes that there is nothing good about it and since her great-grandmother had the same
name and had bad things happen to her, Esperanza is afraid she will have the same outcome.
However, she also says that her great-grandmother was a wild horse of a women while
Esperanza isn’t meaning that not everything is passed down because of your name.
EXAMPLE:
Title of the vignette: The House On Mango Street
Topic of the vignette (this must be different from the title, use your own words): Home/Shame
Theme (What is the author saying about that topic? What is the message about that topic?):
Where a person lives can impact their self-image and identity, especially as a child.
Evidence to support: “You live there? There. I had to look where she pointed—the third floor,
the paint peeling, wooden bars Papa had nailed on the windows so we wouldn’t fall out. You live
there? The way she said it made me feel like nothing. There. I lived there. I nodded.
Explanation: This quote shows that the speaker feels ashamed of her home and that she is
associating where she lives with her own self-image and value.