Study Guide

Mama and Papa in The House on Mango Street

By Sandra Cisneros

Mama and Papa

It's clear from her description of her parents that Esperanza feels a lot of affection for them – Esperanza's Mama and Papa are the forces that make the house on Mango Street a home, even when Esperanza feels ashamed. They dream of winning the lottery and being able to buy a beautiful white house for their family. But, in the meantime, Papa works in the gardens of wealthy homes in the city, and Mama cooks and cares for the children. Esperanza's Mama gave up her studies because she says she was ashamed of not having nice clothes. She encourages her daughter not to let shame stop her from achieving her goals, to stay in school and study hard.