Study Guide

The House on Mango Street Family

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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 family. She thinks her little sister Nenny is a drag, she rolls her eyes at her parents' long-shot dreams of winning the lottery, and part of her hates going to visit her sick aunt in her smelly old apartment. But every once in a while, Esperanza betrays her feelings of love and connectedness to the people she's related to. Esperanza's connection to her family is a major reason she ends up feeling like she does – at least part of the time – belong to the house on Mango Street.

Questions About Family

  1. What kinds of things does Esperanza inherit from her family members? Consider her great-grandmother, her Mama and Papa, and her Aunt Lupe.
  2. Does Esperanza seem to have a close relationship with her brothers? What do you think are the factors influencing this?
  3. Besides the Cordero family, what other families do we see in The House on Mango Street? How do they affect our understanding of the relationships that Esperanza has with her family members?

Chew on This

Though Esperanza inherits an attitude of independence from her mother and paternal great-grandmother, her family's tendency to challenge traditional gender roles does not extend to the men in the family – Esperanza's brothers, in particular, seem to act within the bounds of traditional masculinity, and this prevents Esperanza from being close to them.

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