Die Heuning Pot Literature Guide
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Themes

Little Words, Big Ideas

Identity

The House on Mango Street revolves around one girl and her struggle to fit the puzzle pieces of her identity – ethnicity, gender, cultural inheritance, sexuality, and economic status, to name...

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, Alleg...

Society and Class

Like many of the issues that come up in The House on Mango Street, social and class distinctions are discussed in a sort of oblique way. They're never given a name. Our protagonist, Esperanza, neve...

Innocence

The House on Mango Street is a coming-of-age story about a young girl named Esperanza. Like many coming-of-age stories, this one deals with Esperanza's loss of innocence and familiarization with se...

Gender

Esperanza is not a big fan of the gender roles that keep women in her community oppressed. Men on Mango Street beat their wives and daughters and confine them to the home. Just being a women is som...

Women and Femininity

Women occupy a central role in The House on Mango Street. Almost all of the major characters are women, and the protagonist's understanding of her own femininity motivates much of the story. Espera...

Foreignness and 'The Other'

Set in a Latino community in Chicago, The House on Mango Street contains many characters who are or have been foreigners in some way. The novel explores the feelings associated with foreignness and...

The Home

The idea of home and houses are central to The House on Mango Street, as you may have noticed when you read the section "What's Up With the Title?" and our discussion of houses under "Symbolism, Im...

Family

Esperanza's relationship with her family provides her with a sense of belonging – even when she does her best to deny it. Like a lot of adolescents, Esperanza doesn't always feel close to her...

Friendship

For a girl who feels as isolated as Esperanza does, making friends becomes an urgent and persistent goal. The House on Mango Street deals with the theme of friendship as Esperanza struggles to form...
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