The House on Mango Street Discussion Questions

  1. Cisneros writes, “I’m going to tell you a story about a girl who doesn’t belong…” Why does she feel she doesn’t belong? Is her experience universal for all adolescent girls?
  2. How is Esperanza’s identity shaped by her community? How does her identity shift throughout the vignettes?
  3. In The House on Mango Street, Cisneros writes of “those who don’t know” about her neighborhood and the people in it. What is she saying about the way prejudices shape our perceptions of “us” and “them”?
  4. How is language used to divide and include? What does the language you speak suggest about your connection or disconnection to your culture?
  5. What do “My Name” and “Geraldo No Last Name” tell us about how identities are tied into our names? How do names affect the way we see ourselves and the way others see us?
  6. Although much of the book details experiences outside the narrator’s house, why do you think Cisneros chose The House on Mango Street as her title? What does it reveal about her connection to her family, her home and her neighborhood?
  7. How does Cisneros’ book impact and/or influence the Latino experience in America? Is the Chicago experience distinct?
  8. What can we learn about life in Chicago from Cisneros’ experiences? Do you see your Chicago story in The House on Mango Street?

The Chicago Public Library wishes to thank Facing History and Ourselves for contributing these discussion questions.

Content last updated: April 30, 2009

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