The House on Mango Street

Literapedia Book Notes for

The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros


  • Esperanza's Mom (ch #1) -- Mom of Esperanza. Has nice hair.
  • Esperanza (ch #4) -- In English can be translates as hope, named after her great grandmother.
  • Great-grandmother Esperanza (ch #4) -- A strong woman that Esperanza admires her attitude, but does not want to give up like her.
  • Cathy (ch #5) -- Cathy lives near Esperanza. She has lots of cats. Becomes her only friend till next Tuesday.
  • Lucy (ch #6) -- A girl from Texas. She is the big sister of Rachel.
  • Rachel (ch #6) -- The little sister of Lucy. Born in Chicago.
  • Mr. Benny (ch #6) -- A man who owns a grocery store.
  • Meme Ortiz (Chapter 9)- A young boy names Juan who lives in Cathy’s old house
  • Louie (ch #10) -- Lives downstairs from Meme Ortiz with his cousin Marin and his sisters.
  • Marin (ch #10) -- Louie's cousin, a neighbor who has a boyfriend in Puerto Rico. Dances in the street for boys. Will be sent away next year.
  • Louie's other cousin (ch #10) -- Drives up in a yellow Cadillac. Esperanza only sees him once.
  • Rosa Vargas (ch # 13)-- A single mother who can't keep track of her many children.
  • Alicia (ch #14) -- A girl studying at the university to avoid her fears.
  • Darius (ch #15) -- A mischievous boy who is usually stupid.
  • Uncle Nacho (ch #19) -- Esperanza's uncle who she dances with at the baptism party
  • Papa (ch #22) -- Esperanza's father.
  • Aunt Guadalupe (ch #24) -- Aunt of Esperanza. She is a former swimmer, and is very sick. She dies in the same chapter she appears in.
  • Bianca (ch #24) -- Wife of Mr. Benny.
  • Ruthie (Chapter 26)- Daughter of Edna who lives in her apartment and is the only grownup who loves to play.
  • Enda (Chapter 26)- A lady who owns the apartment building next door to Esperanza.
  • Earl (ch #27) -- A jukebox repairman who lives in Edna's basement. Has a wife and two dogs.
  • Earl's wife (ch #27) -- The kids can't agree on what she looks like. They don't seem to spend much time together.
  • Sire (ch #29) -- Boy who stares at Esperanza and who Esperanza dreams about.
  • Rafaela (ch #31) -- A beautiful woman who wants to escape her husband’s protection.
  • Sally (ch #32) -- A beautiful female classmate of Esperanza who has a strict father.
  • Tito (ch #38) -- A hoodlum of Mango Street that was kissing Sally.
  • Mamacita (ch # 30)--An obese woman with a husband and baby who speaks little English.
  • Sally’s husband (ch #41) -- An abusive marshmallow salesman who doesn’t allow any freedom to Sally.

Chapter Summaries

  1. The House on Mango Street -- Esperanza and her family move to Mango Street from Loomis Street. It wasn’t their dream house.
  2. Hairs-- Compared to everyone else's hair in the family, Mama's hair is perfect.
  3. Boys & Girls -- Esperanza is frustrated at her lack of friends and her ties to her siblings.
  4. My Name -- Esperanza tells how her name means hope, and described her great-grandmother who she admires, but Esperanza also tells how she does not want to just live like 'looking out a window'.
  5. Cathy Queen of Cats -- Explains to Esperanza who is avoidable and who is friendly in the neighborhood. She has lots of cats. Becomes Esperanza's only friend (but only till next Tuesday when Cathy moves.)
  6. Our Good Day -- Esperanza pays five dollars to gain partial ownership of a bike. This makes Cathy mad. Esperanza meets Lucy and Rachel, who are from Texas, and goes on a bike ride with them.
  7. Laughter -- Henry
  8. Gil's Furniture Bought & Sold: Esperanza and Nenny go to a junk store. Nenny is interested in a music box, but the owner will not sell it.
  9. Meme Ortiz -- Meme Ortiz moves in and wins the First Annual Tarzan Jumping Contest, breaking both of his arms.
  10. Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin -- Louie, his sisters, and Marin live in an apartment downstairs from Meme's. Louie's cousin takes his family for a ride in a new yellow Cadillac, but crashes into a signpost while trying to escape the cops who were chasing him for stealing it. They take him away.
  11. Marin -- Neighbor who is from Puerto Rico , and who will be sent back next year. Dances and smokes to catch the eyes of passer byers.
  12. Those Who Don't -- Tim
  13. There Was an Old Woman She Had So Many Children She Didn't Know What to Do -- Rosa Vargas is the single mother of many children. Her children are ill mannered and have little regard for other people's property or themselves. However, no one seems to mind if they get injured.
  14. Alicia Who Sees Mice -- Alicia studies hard at the university to escape her fears of mice and her father, who tells her that she is imagining the mice. She also wants to study hard to get a good job and not have to work at a factory or stay at home like her mother did before she died.
  15. Darius & the Clouds -- Darius simply pointed to a cloud and said, "That's God."
  16. And Some More -- Esperanza, Nenny, Lucy, and Rachel talk about the different kinds of snow and clouds. Nenny gives all of the clouds names. Lucy insults Esperanza and they start fighting.
  17. The Family of Little Feet -- Esperanza, Lucy, and Rachel receive shoes from a woman and they decide to share them. While wearing the shoes the girls notice their legs appear longer and "good to look at". So then the girls go out and show off their new legs by impressing some, making some jealous and gaining disapproval from others. Then when the girls receive unwanted attention (from the hobo) they decide not to wear the shoes. And eventually the shoes are thrown away.
  18. A Rice Sandwich: Esperanza eats at school when her mom sends her with a permission slip.
  19. Chanclas -- Esperanza goes to her counsin's baptism, and at the party, although she is ashamed for wearing her school shoes with her pretty dress, she dances.
  20. Hips -- Esperanza, Nenny, and their friends talk about what to do with hips. Nenny is still a child while the others can't wait to have them.
  21. First Job -- Esperanza gets hips and the girls participate in a game of double dutch.
  22. Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark -- Papa's father dies; he has to go to Mexico.
  23. Born Bad -- Esperanza, Rachel, and Lucy play a game where they imitate famous people or people that they know. One day they decide to imitate Esperanza's Aunt Guadalupe, who is sick. Esperanza writes her aunt a poem and then after they imitate her again she dies. Esperanza feels very guilty.
  24. Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water --
  25. Geraldo No Last Name -- Marin meets Geraldo at a dance and is the last one to see him alive. He is killed in a hit-and-run and she gets questioned by the police.
  26. Edna's Ruthie-- Ruthie, daughter of Edna, the lady who owns the apartments down the block, is the only grown up who likes to play.
  27. The Earl of Tennessee -- The kids only see Earl when he tells them to be quiet, and when he goes to work for the night as a jukebox repairman. They can't agree on what his wife looks like, but they know that she never stays for long.
  28. Sire -- A boy who lives on the street always looks at Esperanza, and who is a punk. Esperanza wonders what it would be like to be his girlfriend and to be held.
  29. Four Skinny Trees -- Timmy
  30. No Speak English -- Mamacita is an extremely obese woman speaks little English and rarely, if ever, leaves her apartment. Sometimes, she mourns leaving her homeland. When she does, her husband gets angry at her. She has a baby.
  31. Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut and Papaya Juice on Tuesdays -- Rafaela’s husband locks her in the house on Tuesday nights when he goes to play dominoes, so she throws a dollar out the window for the kids to get her coconut and papaya juice.
  32. Sally -- Sally doesn't have a best friend at school, leans against the schoolyard fence, is liked by boys at school, but doesn't like going home to her strict father. Sally wants to love and be loved.
  33. Minerva Writes Poems -- Minerva is just a little older than Esperanza but is stuck in an unhappy life and marriage. Her daughters are raised by her mom. She lets her sadness out in poems. One day she has a fight with her husband, he leaves, comes back and apologizes, and then the next day Minerva comes over black and blue.
  34. Bums in the Attic -- Esperanza begins the chapter talking about what kind of house she wants, like the houses where her father works. Then papa asks her why she doesn't come on Sundays with them and she keeps it to herself that she's ashamed and tired of looking at what they don't have.Then she describes the people living on the hill as sort of being self-centered and care-free. Then she talks about what she's gonna have one day; like how shes never going to forget where she comes from and hows she's going to help other who don't have what she has.
  35. Beautiful & Cruel -- Esperanza decides that she doesn't want to grow up like most girls, all tame and waiting for their men.
  36. A Smart Cookie -- Espernaza's mom says that she could have made more of her life if she hadn't quit school.
  37. What Sally Said -- Sally has an abusive father who only worsens, and, when he sees her talking to a boy, beats her horribly with a belt.
  38. The Monkey Garden -- Esperanza sees sally kissing boys in the garden and becomes very upset.
  39. Red Clowns -- Esperanza is left alone by the tilt-a-whirl and red clowns. Sally never came to get her. A man said, "I love you, Spanish girl, I love you." Everyone lied, they're all liars.
  40. Linoleum Roses -- Sally’s husband doesn’t let her leave the house or talk on the telephone. Sally gets depressed and tries to comfort herself by counting all the things she has now, like linoleum with designs of roses.
  41. The Three Sisters--Henry
  42. Alicia & I Talking on Edna's Steps -- Esperanza is telling Alicia how she does not have a house she belongs to.
  43. A House of My Own -- Esperanza is describing the house she wants that will be for her and her only. “Only a house as quiet as snow…” pg. 108
  44. Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes -- Esperanza makes up stories about herself, living in the house she doesn't like. When she writes down her stories, Mango Street lets her go to come back for those who cannot leave.

Student Contributors

Sarah Acree, Lizzie Barnett, Christian Boughner, Sam Meredith, Brooke Nancekivell, Mary Sader, Kerry Sawyer, Anna Spiers, Dominique Vines, Rosa Waters, Catherine Wise, Dale Wolf, Logan Webb, Jill Weakland