The House on Mango Street
Study Questions and Essay Topics
1. What role does death play in The House on Mango Street? How do the many deaths in the novel relate to one another, and how do they influence Esperanza?
2. What role does magic or the supernatural play in The House on Mango Street? How does it affect and influence Esperanza?
3. Discuss the role of parents in the novel. How can Esperanza’s relationship with her parents be characterized? In what ways is it different or similar to other characters’ parent/child relationships in the novel?
Suggested Essay Topics
1. What is the purpose of the internal rhymes that appear in many vignettes? Provide a detailed reading of a section’s rhyming words, explaining how the rhymes contribute to the meaning of that section as a whole.
2. How do race and gender come into conflict in The House on Mango Street? Does one triumph as the more important concern, or do both issues receive equal consideration?
3. How are sex and violence linked in this novel? Why does Esperanza both seek and try to avoid sexual experiences?
4. In what ways does writing set Esperanza apart from her neighborhood? In what ways does it help her integrate into her neighborhood?
5. Why do you think Cisneros chooses not to try to represent dialect, slang, or accents? Is her language ever particularly “Chicano” or “Latino”?