The House on Mango Street
The House on Mango Street
by Sandra Cisneros
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The House on Mango Street Theme of Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

The dreams, hopes and plans of the characters in The House on Mango Street are often symbolized by a house – check out our discussion of houses in this novel in the "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory" section for more on this. For Esperanza's Mama and Papa, the idea of happiness and security is summed up in the image of a white house, big enough for their whole family. They pass this dream down to their children, but Esperanza takes it and makes it her own – her dream becomes having a house all to herself, in which she can be free to write.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. When does Esperanza begin to have a dream that's different from that of her parents? What direction does her dream take, and how does it become different from her parents' dream?
  2. What characters other than Esperanza have big plans for the future? How do these characters influence or inspire Esperanza?
  3. At the end of the novel, are we left with the feeling that Esperanza will achieve her goals? What makes us think so?
  4. Why do you think the idea of a house is so central to Esperanza's dreams for the future? What are some of the key features of Esperanza's dream houses? Why do these particular dream houses inspire her?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

Solitude is an essential component of Esperanza's plans for the future – without a space to call her own, she'd be unable to fulfill her goals of being a writer.

Social activism has always been a part of Esperanza's dreams and hopes, though she doesn't realize it until the end of the book. When Esperanza says she "won't forget who [she is] or where [she] came from," and pledges to let bums stay in the attic of her dream house, she's envisioning doing her part to create a better society.

Next Page: Society and Class
Previous Page: Identity

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