The House on Mango Street is a collection of mini stories wrapped around a Latin-girl’s view of her neighborhood and neighbors. Esperanza hates her name, it’s hope in English but has too many letters in Spanish. She is named after her free-spirited Grandmother, and lives with her parents and two brothers and one sister. Esperanza has moved every year to a new rental. Her parents always talk of owning their own home, and what it would be like. They finally move to Mango Street and don’t have to bother with landlords banging on the ceiling or floor, and they don’t have to share space. It definitely isn’t the home of their dreams, but even when Esperanza leaves this street, she will always remember the roots it gave her.
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The main character in this book is Esperanza, who is also the narrator. Esperanza has a way of finding everyone’s little idiosyncrasies that make us unique individuals. Boys and girls live in separate worlds, so Nettie, her sister is her responsibility and tags along everywhere. Lucy and Rachel are sisters that are her friends; they play games and watch the coming and goings of Mango Street. Louie, who lives in an apartment down the street, has a cousin, Marin, visiting from Puerto Rico. Marin tells the girls things about make-up and boys. One of Louie’s cousins visits with a beautiful yellow convertible and takes Marin and the girls for a ride. The white leather upholstery is like a beautiful sofa. They ride around the neighborhood. The girls are really impressed, and then he stops suddenly and tells them to get out quick. He speeds away and they hear sirens. He crashes and the beautiful car looks like an accordion. He is handcuffed and taken to jail. The girls wave and thank him. Esperanza is vaguely aware of what is going on, she is telling the story as a little girl with no concept of the significance of what is happening. Some of these stories told are from the innocence of youth, but the harsh reality makes some of the stories about the people sad and unfortunately true.