Esperanza Character in Sandra Cisneros’ Novel

Category: Culture
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“In The House on Mango Street, a young girl, Esperanza, is telling the story of her experience growing up in a low-income neighborhood. As a teenager, she goes through some difficult times and learns about what it means to be an adult. She and her family move to a house located on Mango Street in Chicago. But, this house is not what Esperanza really expected. It is not the type of house her parents had promised they would move to. Throughout the novel, Esperanza describes the tough lives of her friends, relatives, and other residents in short sketches where readers can explore their cultural backgrounds. These characters are affected either by exile, poverty, or the restrictions of predetermined gender roles. Esperanza draws attention from the readers because she is the kind of character that portrays a simple human being. She is going through an awkward time of life called puberty and her writings of distressed, sincere poetry helps her get through the embarrassment and the discomfort of puberty. Therefore, readers feel more connected and reminded that, in spite of all those embarrassing and painful experiences in life, they can overcome them, like she did.


The novel is written in a first-person narrative voice, where readers can see Esperanza’s point of view. Also, Esperanza becomes more like a peripheral narrator for a few sections of the novel. This proves readers that Esperanza is not a self-centered narrator who is only concerned about telling her own story. She talks about her personal experiences, but she also talks about the experiences of her community members who do not or cannot speak for themselves.


The name Esperanza means “hope” in English and the tone of this novel has a sense of hope as well, at least in Esperanza’s life. She is surrounded by hard situations, like many immigrants do. For example, there is a sense of machismo portrayed in the stories of the women Esperanza talks about. This is seen in the situation of Minerva, who has two kids and who’s husband keeps leaving her, but she keeps letting him in. She shows up at Esperanza’s house all bruised up, asking her for advice. Men beating their daughters and wives was a social ill seen in this novel. Nevertheless, Esperanza decides to escape all these injustices and swears that when she grows up and has a house of her own, she will help her people. A great example is when Esperanza mentions her great-grandmother and how she “looked out the window her whole life,” meaning that she was not happy with her husband, who had thrown a “sack over her head and carried her off” (pg. 11). Esperanza does not want to “inherit her [great-grandmother’s] place by the window” (pg. 11). The beginning of the story starts to be chaotic because of the problems that the community of that neighborhood is going through. Truly, all the difficult situations that occur around Esperanza impulse her to act towards making her community better.


The setting of this novel takes place mainly in the neighborhood on Mango Street, as it is mentioned in the title of the novel. In fact, the most part of the action happens around the house on Mango Street and so little in the house itself. Mango Street is located in a Latino, poor neighborhood in a city called Chicago, which is also the author’s hometown. By a few contextual clues from the novel, the time period is established as the late 1960’s. Readers assume that the residents of Mango Street are poor and that there are class distinctions made by Esperanza.

Writing Style

The Author, Sandra Cisneros, writes this fantastic novel in such a way that any person who attempts to read it finds it easy and accessible to understand. For instance, in her introduction, she writes that the stories create a kind of “beauty that is there to be admired by anyone, like a heard of clouds grazing overhead” (Intro. 20). Also, all her characters have their own short story helping readers understand and follow along better without getting lost.”

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Esperanza Character in Sandra Cisneros' Novel. (2021, May 27). Retrieved from

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