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House on Mango Street

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  1. House on Mango Street

  2. Essential Questions • Where does our sense of identity come from? • How does environment shape our identity? • What identities, if any, are permanent and which do we have the power to change? • What roles do neighborhood and community play in shaping who we become? • Make a list of what you consider your identity to be.

  3. “House on Mango Street” • Read chapter 1. • Where does our sense of identity come from? • How does environment shape our identity? • What identities, if any, are permanent and which do we have the power to change? • What roles do neighborhood and community play in shaping who we become?

  4. “Hairs” • Read Chapter 2 • In your journal, write a vignette about your own life that discusses an important physical trait and how it reveals something about the person who possesses it and your relationship to him/her. You may choose to discuss a trait that all of you share, or one that makes a particular family member—or you—stand out from the others because it is different..

  5. “Boys and Girls” • Read Chapter 3 • In your journal, answer the following questions: • Why do they (boys and girls) live in separate worlds? • Why are the boys worried about being seen outside talking to girls?

  6. “Cathy Queen of Cats”Compare and/or contrast Cathy and Esperanza. Cathy Esperanza Attitude Toward the Neighborhood Prejudices Age Socio-Economic Position Ethnic Background Importance to the Story

  7. “Cathy Queen of Cats” • Cathy seems indifferent to Esperanza’s feelings and does not recognize that her (Cathy’s) comments are offensive. As Esperanza, write a letter to Cathy explaining why her comments are bigoted and how you felt during the conversation.

  8. “Cathy Queen of Cats”Sample Letter Dear Cathy, I know that you are moving on Tuesday, but before you go I want to tell you how much you hurt me when we first met. All I wanted was to make a new friend and to feel welcome in the neighborhood. Maybe you thought you were helping when you told me scary things about our neighbors, but instead you made me feel unwanted and unsafe in my new home. You said to stay away from the girls across the street because they are “raggedy.” I am “raggedy,” too. Do you think the other children in the neighborhood should stay away from me? You said the reason you are moving is because the neighborhood is getting bad. I just moved here! Do you think the neighborhood is getting bad because my family moved here? And what did you mean by “people like us”? I am not sorry that you are moving away. Your ex-neighbor, Esperanza

  9. “Our Good Day” Identify the traits you think Esperanza possesses. _____1. aloof_____11. difficult_____21. wise _____2. conventional _____12. practical _____22. compassionate _____3. courageous _____13. reliable _____23. understanding _____4. energetic _____14. resourceful _____24. thoughtful _____5. honest _____15. intelligent _____25. simple _____6. insensitive _____16. sensitive _____26. imaginative _____7. methodical _____17. diligent _____27. persistent _____8. confident _____18. conscientious _____28. stubborn _____9. coarse _____19. tender _____29. reasonable ____10. cautious _____20. callous _____30. impudent

  10. “Our Good Day” • Describe a good day with your friends.

  11. “Laughter” What member of your family do you most strongly resemble? With what member of your family do you share the most personality traits? Do you, like Esperanza, feel a strong connection with your family’s heritage? Why or why not?

  12. “Gil’s Furniture Bought and Sold” • How does the personality difference between the two sisters show up in the store? • Describe a time in your life when you were embarrassed by your lack of understanding of a new technology or of an event.

  13. “Meme Ortiz” • Who is Meme? • How are Meme and the dog alike? • What words does Esperanza use to describe Meme? How do these words create a word picture of Meme? • Think back to when you were a child. What risks did you take to win a game or a contest? Did you get hurt? Would you take that same risk now?

  14. “Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin” • Write a headline based on the events in Chapter 10 that may have appeared in the next day’s issue of The Chicago Tribune. • Write a short news story based on the events in the chapter. Remember to include the what, when, where, who, why, and how, if this information is available in the chapter. Do not invent anything; a newspaper story should strive to be factual.

  15. “Marin” • Mark statements about this chapter as True or False. • T F Marin’s dreams depend on a man to provide her with a happy life. • T F Marin is well liked and respected by Louie’s parents. • T F Esperanza admires Marin because Marin is older and knows things. • T F Marin is free to come and go as she pleases. • T F Esperanza thinks that Marin is too rebellious, but nice.

  16. “Marin” B. Which of the following values do you think are important to Marin? _____ hope _____ family _____ education _____ wealth _____ peace _____ fame _____ security _____ popularity _____ health _____ honesty _____ happiness _____ friendship _____ beauty _____ love _____ loyalty

  17. “Marin” What are your dreams and goals for the future? How do you plan to make your dreams and goals real?

  18. “Those Who Don’t” • How do outsiders view Esperanza’s neighborhood? • How does Esperanza feel when she drives “into a neighborhood of another color?” • Explain the significance of the following quotes. “All brown all around, we are safe.”

  19. “Those Who Don’t” • Write about a time in your life when you were afraid because you found yourself in an unfamiliar place or unusual situation. Did your fear have any foundation in fact, or was it based on generalizations you were making about your situation? • Draw a one-panel cartoon showing Esperanza’s neighborhood and a car full of frightened people driving down the street. • What might the caption read?

  20. “There Was An Old Woman” Explain the significance of the following quotes. “They are without respect for all things living, including themselves.” “But after a while you get tired of being worried about kids who aren’t even yours”

  21. “There Was An Old Woman” • This chapter ends with the death of a child. Does anyone other than Esperanza seem to care? Why or why not? What does this say about society? • Do you think that society has a responsibility to children? Should the neighborhood have done more for the Vargas children? Was there anything the neighborhood could have done?

  22. “Alicia Who Sees Mice” Which of the following themes is strongest in this chapter? List details from the chapter that support your answer. Understand the definition well, so that you can eliminate answers that do not fit. • Esperanza grows up. • Some women feel trapped in traditional female roles. • Prejudice is founded in fear and ignorance. • It is important to be proud of one’s home. • It is difficult to establish one’s identity when caught between two conflicting cultures. • One has a duty to his or her neighbors and community.

  23. “Alicia Who Sees Mice” Alicia’s father represents the stereotypical male who believes that a woman’s place is in the home. Alicia, like Esperanza, wants to be something different from the traditional female. Unlike Marin who is a woman waiting for her dream, Alicia is a woman working toward her dream. Esperanza finds much to admire in Alicia. What lines show Esperanza’s admiration?

  24. “Darius & the Clouds” • Esperanza says that you can never have too much sky. Why does the sky symbolize for her? • What is there a shortage of on Mango Street? • What wise thing did Darius say? Why is it wise? • Many people turn to nature when they are upset or sad or in need of peace. Esperanza says that you can get drunk on sky. Is there a part of nature that soothes you when you are sad or upset? Is there a part of nature that inspires you?

  25. “And Some More” • Describe an afternoon spending time with your friends.

  26. “The Family of Little Feet” • In this chapter, the girls learn quite a bit about the way women are perceived. What are the perceptions of women that they face? • Are people judged by the clothing they wear? Should they be? Is there a double standard for women and their behavior?

  27. “A Rice Sandwich” • Once again Esperanza endures a humiliating experience. How is the experience with the nun in this chapter similar to the experience in chapter one? Why does Esperanza lie about her home? • What did she learn from this experience? • How are the adults portrayed in this novel? How did you see adults when you were a child?

  28. “Chanclas” • What did Esperanza’s mother forget? How does Esperanza feel about this? • Why does Esperanza turn down the boy who asks her to dance? • How does she feel at the beginning of her dance with her uncle? • How have her feelings changed by the end of the dance? • What does Esperanza notice about the boy who asks her to dance?

  29. “Chanclas” • Describe a time when embarrassment or shyness kept you from participating in something. Did you overcome your shyness? If so, how did you feel? If not, how did you feel? Would you be as shy now? Why or why not?

  30. “Hips” • At what age did you feel that you had left your childhood behind? When did you feel that you were becoming an adult? Have you felt that? How would you describe growing up?

  31. “The First Job” • Consider the unwanted kiss incident. Write a diary entry Esperanza might make regarding the incident; include her feelings at the time. In what way does the incident help define the coming of-age theme?

  32. “The First Job” Dear Diary, I went to my first job today. It is an easy job – I just match negatives to the prints at the Peter Pan Photo Finishers on North Broadway. Aunt Lala found the job for me. I ate my lunch in the washroom because I did not know anyone in the lunchroom. At break time, I sat alone in the cloak room until this Oriental man said hello to me. At first, he seemed very nice, and I was grateful that he noticed me. Really, Diary, he had nice eyes and I trusted him. Then, when I was beginning to relax with him and feel less scared, he said he wanted me to give him a birthday kiss. I kiss my uncles all of the time, and he seemed like an uncle to me. So I started to give him a kiss on the cheek, when he grabbed my face and kissed me hard on the mouth! Yuck!! He held on to me and would not let go! I know that I cannot trust anyone at Peter Pan Photo Finisher now. How could I have been so wrong about him? Esperanza realizes that she is no longer viewed or treated as a child when she is out in public.

  33. “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark” • Esperanza is aware now that at some point in her life she will lose her parents. Although she is growing up and preparing to be an adult, she realizes that her parents are a part of her home and she is not ready to do without them. What parts make up your idea of a home? What parts of that home could you do without? What parts must you have?

  34. “Born Bad” • Esperanza connects her aunt’s death with the imitation game that she and the other children played. Have you ever imitated or mocked someone else? Did you feel guilty? Do you feel guilty now? • Esperanza questions why people get sick or injured. She ends up believing that it is just chance. What do you believe?

  35. “Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water”Superstitions, Beliefs, and Their Origins • It's bad luck to walk under a ladder. This came from the early Christian belief that a leaning ladder formed a triangle with the wall and ground. You must never violate the Holy Trinity by walking through a triangle, lest you be considered in league with the devil. (And you all know what good Christians did to people they suspected of being in league with the devil.) • Beware of Friday the Thirteenth. Those who know about these things, inform us that Adam and Eve were expelled from the Garden of Eden on a Friday, Noah's flood started on a Friday, and Christ was crucified on a Friday. Christians also noted that twelve witches plus one devil are present at Satanic ceremonies, so Friday and 13 make a deadly combination.

  36. “Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water”Superstitions, Beliefs, and Their Origins • God Bless You. During the sixth century, it was customary to congratulate people who sneezed because they were expelling evil from their bodies. Later, when a great plague took hold of Europe and people began sneezing violently, the Pope passed a law. Since sneezing meant that the person was going to die of plague, people were required to bless the sneezer. • Don't spill the salt. Although some people believe that Judas spilt salt during the last supper, this claim can't be proven. Salt was a very precious expensive commodity in the middle ages. It was also used for medicinal purposes. If you spill any, you must immediately throw it over your left shoulder to strike the nasty spirits in the eye, thus preventing sickness.

  37. “Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water”Superstitions, Beliefs, and Their Origins • Black cats are evil. In ancient Egypt, the Goddess Bast was a black female cat. Christian priests wanted to wipe out all traces of other religions, so they convinced their ignorant followers to destroy the evil demons that were blackcats. While they were at it, they destroyed the kindly little old ladies who cared for the cats, believing them to be witches. • Ladybug, ladybug, fly away home. It is bad luck to kill a ladybug because it represents the Virgin Mary.

  38. “Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water”Superstitions, Beliefs, and Their Origins • Make up a superstition, one that doesn’t really exist. After you come up with one, write it down and devise a scenario to justify its origin • List the superstitions Esperanza refers to in this chapter. • List any three superstitions that you would like to know the origins of.

  39. “Geraldo No Last Name” • This chapter is another social criticism. The repetition of the questions reinforce the idea that Geraldo didn’t matter to the society in which he lived. What were the questions? How did the questioning of the police imply that Geraldo brought the accident on himself? • What actions and lines support Marin’s belief that Geraldo could have been saved? • Why does Esperanza talk about Geraldo’s home?

  40. “Geraldo No Last Name” • This chapter is a social commentary. Are there still people in society that are treated the way that Geraldo was treated? • If so, what should be done about it? Can anything be done?

  41. “Edna’s Ruthie” • Who is Ruthie? Who is Edna? • What does Esperanza say about Ruthie? What doesn’t she understand about Ruthie • How are Ruthie and Esperanza alike? • Is it important to find joy in your daily life? Is it important to dream about the future? Which is more important?

  42. “The Earl of Tennessee” • Who is Earl? Where does he live? • What is Earl’s job? • Describe your room. How does your room reflect who you are?

  43. “Sire” • Esperanza wonders what it will be like one day to sit outside with a boy. This for her will be a way of knowing that she is growing up. What are the milestones in your life that let you know that you are growing up? • Because Esperanza is the narrator, the incidents are told from her perspective. How might the incident with Sire be written if it were told from his point of view? Try to rewrite all six paragraphs in this chapter from his perspective

  44. “Four Skinny Trees” • In what ways does Esperanza identify with the four skinny trees? • What does Esperanza learn from the trees? • The theme of finding beauty in everyday things is continued in this chapter. What beauty does Esperanza find in the trees? What do the trees teach her?

  45. “No Speak English” • This chapter continues the theme of home. Mamacita seems to be physically tied to her home in Mexico. She is not happy in the apartment in America. How is the opposite of the American Dream? • How is this chapter also a continuation of the theme of masculine and feminine roles? • Mamacitais homesick. She is refusing to try to belong in America. Describe a situation in your life when you refused to try to fit in. Or describe a time in your life when you were homesick.

  46. “Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays” • Why is Rafaela growing old? • Why does her husband lock her in the apartment? • Who is Rapunzel? Why would Rafaela wish that she had hair like Rapunzel? • What message do you think fairy tales send? Why?

  47. “Sally” • Who is Sally? • What is Sally’s relationship with her father? • How does Sally change when it is time to go home? • Sally has been told all her life that she is bad, that something is wrong with her. How does this impact her behavior? Do you think that people can escape their childhoods? Do you think that people can escape the perceptions people have of them? Are people judged by their looks?

  48. “Minerva Writes Poems” • Which of the themes in the story is dealt with in this vignette? Write the letter and explain what details from the vignette help you to get your answer. • A. Esperanza grows up. • B. Some women feel trapped in traditional female roles. • C. Prejudice is founded in fear and ignorance. • D. It is important to be proud of one’s home. • E. It is difficult to establish one’s identity when caught between two conflicting • cultures. • F. One has a duty to his or her neighbors and community.

  49. “Minerva Writes Poems” • Esperanza is in a difficult situation. She has a friend who is being abused and neither she nor her friend can come up with a solution. Describe a time when you were unable to develop a solution to a problem.

  50. “Bums in the Attic” • This chapter is a social commentary on class separation. What metaphor is used to represent the separation between the rich and the poor? • Describe a problem in society that you wish you could solve. Explain how you will solve it