The House on Mango Street The House on Mango Street question


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Double entry journal #2
Ms. Donee Ms. Donee Jan 30, 2015 09:07AM
As you read each passage, you have five tasks: First, identify who is speaking or narrating. Second, explain what the context or situation is--that is, who is involved, where s/he is, at what time, and what is going on, etc. Third, explain what the quotation means and how it is significant to the novel. Fourth, note any stylistic devices (similes, metaphors, personification, symbols, alliteration, etc.), and finally, what connections do you see between this excerpt and other vignettes in the novel (Ideas of waiting, feeling trapped, making friends, etc.)
Finally, comment on another student's response.



"The House on Mango Street": "Red Clowns"

Quote: "Why did you leave me all alone? I waited my whole life. You're a liar. They all lied. All the books and magazines, everything that told it wrong. Only his dirty fingernails against my skin, only his sour smell again. The moon that watched. The tilt-a-whirl. The red clowns laughing their thick-tongue laugh." (100)

Speaker: Esperanza is narrating

Situation: Esperanza talks to us after she has been sexually assaulted by a group of boys. Even though she gives her impressions and expresses her confusion, she never specifies exactly what the boys do to her. Esperanza goes to a carnival with Sally and that she watches Sally on the rides. Sally is careless and free, and at one point she disappears with an older boy. While Esperanza waits for Sally to return, a group of boys attacks Esperanza. She is traumatized and keeps hearing the voice of one of the boys saying, “I love you, Spanish girl.” She blames Sally for leaving her and not being there to save her saying "Sally, you lied , you lied."

Significance: When a group of anonymous boys assaults Esperanza, she directs her anger toward women and society instead of toward the specific boys responsible. "You're a liar. They all lied. All the books and magazines, everything that told it wrong." She is enraged by Sally for not being there and not telling her what "it" is really like, and at society for saying that "it" is connected with love and romance. Sally has proven to be an unreliable friend because she always chooses boys’ attention over Esperanza’s friendship, and Esperanza now pays the price for her loyalty. Esperanza’s lack of anger towards the attackers suggests that in Esperanza’s world, any man or boy could have been guilty, but women are the ones responsible for keeping each other safe. Esperanza has matured a great deal over the course of a year, but this violent experience makes her feel helpless, alone, and afraid. She only blames what she knows because blaming her attackers would require a well of strength she has not yet developed.

Stylistic Devices: "Only his dirty fingernails against my skin, only his sour smell again. The moon that watched. The tilt-a-whirl. The red clowns laughing their thick-tongue laugh." Cisneros uses personification to show the helplessness Esperanza felt as she was sexually harassed. "The moon that watched," means that no one could help her, she was alone and "The red clowns laughing their thick-tongue laugh" shows how frightened she was.

Connection: Just like Sally, Esperanza now feels the meaning of being a woman. She is powerless like every woman we know of in "The House on Mango Street". All of them seem to be trapped in their society where they are alone, abused, and afraid.

Eric Peng (Period 3)


Ashley (last edited Jan 30, 2015 10:03PM ) Jan 30, 2015 02:41PM   1 vote
"Gil's Furniture Bought & Sold"

Quote: "This, this is a music box, and I turn around quick thinking he means a pretty box with flowers painted on it, with a ballerina inside. Only there's nothing like that where this old man is pointing, just a wood box that's old and got a big brass record in it with holes. Then he starts it up and all sorts of things start happening. It's like all of a sudden he let go a million moths all over the dusty furniture and swan-neck shadows and in our bones. It's like drops of water. Or like marimbas only with a funny little plucked sound to it like if you were running your fingers across the teeth of a metal comb."(pg 20)

Speaker: Esperanza is narrating

Situation: Esperanza and Nenny visit a junk store owned by an old man named Gil. She is prideful and tries to hide her excitement when they see the music box. Nenny does not try to conceal her emotions and openly asks the owner how much the item costs, but the item is not for sale.

Significance: Esperanza is growing conflicted and confused at herself as she transitions from a child to an adult. To prove her maturity, she tries not to admit her true emotions and pretends that she is uninterested in the music box. When she sees Nenny being herself- carefree, optimistic, and indifferent to anyone's opinions- she jealously dismisses Nenny as being foolish and stupid.
At the words "music box," Esperanza cannot hide her excitement, and looks with expectations to see a "pretty box with flowers painted on it, with a ballerina inside,"(pg20), and is disappointed when her wishes are replaced with an ordinary brass music box. However, moments afterward, her dreams are fulfilled in another way. Despite it's ugly appearance, the music box surprises Esperanza with its "funny little plucked sound." This experience teaches her not to judge anything or anyone by their appearance. Then, ironically, after her expectations of the music box are fulfilled and even surpassed, she and Nenny are then disappointed when the owner tells them the music box is not for sale. After gaining a taste of the beauty of the music box that would finally satisfy her dreams, they are told it is unattainable, similarly to how happiness is always out of Esperanza's reach.

Stylistic Devices: Cisneros uses imagery through the use of metaphors and similes to describe the amazement and joy of Esperanza when she hears the music box play, and how it has surpassed her expectations by far.

Connections: Parallel to the chapter "Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin" where after the joy of riding around in a yellow Cadillac, his cousin is arrested and the car is ruined, this vignette describes the disappointment in expecting too much from reality like the saying, "too good to be true."

Ashley Lin
Period 6


The House on Mango Street- “Those Who Don’t”

Quotation: “Those who don’t know any better come into our neighborhood scared. They think we’re dangerous. They are stupid people who are lost and got here by mistake. But we aren’t afraid.” (Pg.28)

“All brown all around, we are safe. But watch us drive into a neighborhood of another color and our knees go shakily-shake and our car windows get rolled up tight and our eyes look straight. Yeah. That’s how it goes.” (Pg.28)

Speaker: The narrator is Esperanza.

Situation: People from the outside do not truly know Mango Street. They judge on appearance and status and not how they are as a community. People who are not residents, do not understand how it is to live in their types of situations. They assume that in order to get a desired object they have to commit a crime because, “They think we’re dangerous.”(Pg.28)

Significance: Their neighborhood is not understood to the rest of the world that live outside of Mango street, and instead are feared for what they might possibly do and how they might harm them. No one out of the neighborhood dares to step out of line and bother to get to know someone. People judge the community by how it looks, not really knowing the story behind each neighbor. She is slowly adopting her community as how other residents have done in the past.

Stylistic devices: Esperanza used this quote to express her community as, “All brown all around, we are safe.” (Pg.28) The color brown is used to symbolize the people in her community and the color of their skin. She explains that her community is comfortable being with the same group of people.

Connections: Communities are content with their same set of people, instead venturing and giving out their trust to someone new. They are uncomfortable with trying something new to them and rather be, as the term goes, safe then sorry.

Hannah Manuit
Per. 6


From: "My Name"
"She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was sorry because she couldn't be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but i don't want to inherit her place by the window."

Speaker: Esperanza is narrating.

Situation: Esperanza recalls how she received her name, saying that it was her great-grandmother's name that was passed down to her. She also explains that her great-grandmother was whisked away from her family and was forced to be married into another. Esperanza is unhappy about her name, saying "I would like to baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees."

Significance: Esperanza feels like a captive in her own name. Because she inherited the name from her great-grandmother, she is afraid of being tied down and restricted from the outside world. Already, she is unhappy, pointing out that her name hides the real Esperanza. She wants to enjoy the world, something her grandmother could never do.

Stylistic Device: Cisneros uses simile in the vignette, saying, "Until my great-grandfather threw a sack over her head and carried her off. Just like that, as if she was were a fancy chandelier."

Connections: Just like in "Linoleum Roses", Esperanza relates to Sally and the feeling of being trapped. When Sally gets married Esperanza says, "She says she is in love, but I think she did it to escape." Just like Esperanza wants to rid herself of her name, Sally wants to leave her past behind.


Ashley Lee
Per 3


Jeremy (last edited Jan 30, 2015 10:27AM ) Jan 30, 2015 10:26AM   0 votes
from "Darius & the Clouds"
Quote: "You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky. Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still we take what we can get and make the beset of it... That one there. See that. That's God, Darius said. God? somebody little asked. God he said, and made it simple" (p. 33 - 34).

Narrator: Darius is narrating this vignette.

Situation: Darius is a boy who is looked at as a fool, but today he chips in his view on life by looking at the sky and the great clouds in it.

Significance: When Darius looks at the sky, he is thinking of freedom and how the grass will always be greener on the other side. He says that, "There is too much sadness and not enough sky" (p. 33), meaning that there are far more sad people than optimistic or free people. He also says, "Butterflies too are few and so are flowers and most things that are beautiful. Still, we take what we can get and make the best of it" (p. 33). Darius relates butterflies and flowers to beautiful things. Those butterflies and flowers are seen as free to Darius, while the sad people do not have "enough sky," meaning that there are great barriers between them and freedom.

Stylistic Devices: The sky symbolizes freedom and optimism in this vignette. Ciseneros also uses a hyperbole when Darius says, "You can fall asleep and wake up drunk of sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad" (p. 33). Obviously, you can't get drunk on sky or be kept safe by it.

Connection: Darius' thinking is similar to Esperanza's when they speak of freedom. Esperanza compares herself to being a red balloon who is tied down, while Darius sees the lack of freedom in the sky.

Jeremy Lim (Period 3)


from "My Name"

"And the story goes she never forgave him. She looked out the window her whole life, the way many women sit their sadness on an elbow. I wonder if she made the best with what she got or was sorry because she couldn't be all the things she wanted to be. Esperanza. I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window" (11).

Speaker: Esperanza is narrating
Situation: Esperanza is a given to her in memory of her great-grandmother. The story to her great grandmother's life was a very sad one, full of regrets and sadness. The story goes she never wanted to marry but that did not stop Esperanza's great-grandfather. He kidnapped her off without warning and carried her off so she spent the rest of her life in depression, never able to forgive him.

Significance: A few generations later, the original Esperanza's great-grand daughter refuses to spend her life as her great-grandmother did. She believes, "I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window." The current Esperanza is determined to lead a different path; free and able to shape her own future. She strongly believes her destiny is not restrained to a place by the window, but open to great heights.

Stylistic devices: In this passage, the phrases "looking out" and "place by the" window is alluding to a dull, depressing life. Th window symbolizes a physical and mental barrier that prevents Esperanza's great-grandmother from attaining the freedom that is on the side. It shows how close, yet so far from the freedom she is.

Connections: Throughout the duration of the story, Esperanza lives her life based on her own choices. She is different from her great-grandmother in the way that is open to the experiences of life.


Quote: "There ain't thirty different kinds of snow, Lucy says. There are two kinds. The clean kind and the dirty kind, clean and dirty. Only two. There are a million zillion kinds, says Nenny. No two are exactly alike. Only how do you remember which one is which?"(35).
From "And Some More"

Speaker: Rachel, Lucy, and Nenny is speaking, while Esperanza narrates what they say.

Situation: Rachel, Lucy, Nenny, and Esperanza was having a conversation that starts off as a friendly discussion which each one portraying their own idea. The friends started talking about clouds and snow, and each of them considered them to be different things. They gave names to clouds and expressed their opinions of what they looked like. This discussion turned out to be fight after hearing rude remarks about Esperanza's mama. Lucy and Rachel had spoken incorrectly, saying that Esperanza's mother is ugly. Esperanza counteracts, and starts an argument, which torn their friendship.

Significance: Esperanza has never experienced being in a real fight with her friends because of their innocence. However, they had started their first heated debate, which leads up to their breakup. Esperanza is maturing, especially after her first fight, realizing the truth of the harsh world. Furthermore, their first discussion incorporates the major theme in the vignettes, dreams. The types of clouds, including the similarities and their dreams, represent dreams. There are two kinds of dreams, the impossible dreams and the possible ones, just like there are two kinds of snow, "The clean kind and the dirty kind..." The clean kind of snow are more rare; snow becomes dirty when they pass the trees and collect dirty particles. Symbolically, the clean kind represent the dreams that are possible, which are rare; but as they pass the tree, or their teenage years, the dreams become lost, or more impossible, although they become closer to the ground, just like they will closer to achieving their dream. However, there are a innumerable type of dreams, whether it is your desire to own a house, or be an astronaut, similar to the types of snow and shape and "No two are exactly alike." Cisneros develops the theme of dreams and hopes through the conversation between the young friends.

Stylistic Devices: Cisneros uses symbolism in this vignette to help show the reality of the world, and how their dreams become a fantasy. The snow symbolizes dreams, as the clean and dirty symbolizes how impossible and possible some dreams are. The repetition of clean and dirty helps to emphasize and enhance how impossible dreams may be.

Connections: Everyone that lives on Mango Street has a desire to be something more; mainly living in a better neighborhood with better houses. This discussion especially relates to Esperanza, who has a dream of moving out of Mango Street. Furthermore, this also relates to the audience, adults or children, who once had a dream to be something special; a hero, explorer, or a movie character.

Sebastian Tsai
Period 6


Emily (last edited Jan 30, 2015 10:48AM ) Jan 30, 2015 10:46AM   -1 votes
from "Red Clowns"

Quote: "Sally Sally a hundred times. Why didn't you hear me when I called? Why didn't you tell them to leave me alone? The one who grabbed me by the arm, he wouldn't let me go. He said I love you, Spanish girl, I love you, and pressed his sour mouth to mine...I couldn't make them go away. I couldn't do anything but cry, I don't remember. It was dark. I don't remember...Why did you leave me all alone? I waited my whole life. You're a liar. They all lied. All the books and magazines, everything that told it wrong... Sally, you lied, you lied. he wouldn't let me go. He said I love you, I love you, Spanish girl." (100)

Speaker: Esperanza is narrating.

Situation: Esperanza was waiting by the red clown for Sally, who was on the tilt-a-whirl with a bunch of boys. As Esperanza was waiting alone, a group of boys came over and sexually harassed her and wouldn't let her go.

Significance: Esperanza is opened to a new traumatic and terrifying world after she was sexually harassed. For example, Esperanza repeated this phrase throughout the vignette. "I love you, I love you, Spanish girl." The way that she does this shows how scared and traumatized she really is. This was the only thing she remembered when the group of boys said as they took advantage of her. As Esperanza looked back at this event she says, "They all lied. All the books and magazines, everything that told it was wrong." She refers to everyone who has told her about what that one special moment would be like as "they." How she says, "They all lied," displays that she feels betrayed.

Stylistic devises: Cisneros uses the repetition of the beginning phrase to add emphasis on how traumatized she really is. (ex. "I couldn't... I couldn't," "I don't remember... I don't remember....I don't remember.") Cisneros also writes in a way that shows that Esperanza is crying. This part from the quote, "Sally, you lied, you lied. He wouldn't let me go. He said I love you, I love you, Spanish girl," shows just how sad she is. The constant pauses imitates the shortness of breath when people cry and try to speak at the same time.

Connection: Esperanza, Sally, and the other girls believed that love would set them free from Mango Street. However, as Esperanza goes through this tragic event, she realizes that not everything will be perfect and she doesn't want to grow up just yet. Her life turns upside down when she thought it was suppose to get better.

Emily N. (3)


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