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Reading Response Journals

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    1. Reading Response Journals Directions: In your journal, answer the following questions. Title each vignette entry and number the questions. Do not write the questions; just answer them in complete sentences using proper names and full details. We will be discussing some of the answers in class, but you will not turn in your responses until we have finished the book. Example: Before living on Mango Street the narrator lived… The narrator would like to live in a house…

    2. “The House on Mango Street” 1. How is the house on Mango Street different from the family’s previous houses? 2. In what kind of house would the narrator like to live? 3. At the end of this vignette, the narrator describes conversation she had with a nun: “You live there? The way she said it made me feel like nothing. There. I lived there. I nodded” (5). Which place is she writing about? Why does this place make her feel like nothing?

    3. “Hairs” • Who are the members of the narrator’s family? • Explain what the narrator means when she describes “Mama’s hair that smells like bread” (7).

    4. “Boys and Girls” • Why does the narrator say that boys and girls live in separate worlds? • At the end of the vignette, she describes herself as a “balloon tied to an anchor” (9). What does she mean?

    5. “My Name” • What does the story of Esperanza’s great-grandmother tell you about the status of women in Mexican Society? • Why does Esperanza want a new name?

    6. “Cathy Queen of Cats” • Why does Cathy’s family have to move away? • Why does the author, Sandra Cisneros repeat the word “cats” so many times in the second paragraph.

    7. “Our Good Day” • Why does Esperanza need five dollars at the beginning of this vignette? • Why does Esperanza consider this day to be a good day?

    8. “Laughter” 1. In what ways are Esperanza and Nenny alike?

    9. “Gil’s Furniture Bought and Sold” 1. What makes the music box so special?

    10. “Meme Ortiz” 1. Describe Meme Ortiz. Note the comparisons made in the vignette in reference to Meme’s house and dog.

    11. “Louis, His Cousin, and His Other Cousin” • Why is the ride in the Cadillac important? • What surprise do you get at the end?

    12. “Marin” • What is different about Marin that Esperanza finds fascinating? • What is Marin waiting for?

    13. “Those Who Don’t” • Why does Esperanza feel safe in her own neighborhood.

    14. “There Was an Old Woman…” • Why does the neighborhood begin to ignore the Vargas kids? • What tragedy ends this vignette?

    15. “Alicia Who Sees Mice” 1. How does Alicia’s father treat her?

    16. “Darius and the Clouds” 1. How do the clouds show another side of Darius?

    17. “And Some More” 1. How are Esperanza and her friends like the clouds?

    18. “The Family of Little Feet” 1. How did the shoes change the girls?

    19. “A Rice Sandwich” • Why does Esperanza want to eat in the school lunchroom? • What does Esperanza learn from the experience?

    20. “Chanclas” 1. Why does the author describe Esperanza’s feet as “growing bigger and bigger” as she sits on the folding chair?

    21. “Hips” 1. What do you learn about the girls’ images of themselves as they play jump rope?

    22. “The First Job” 1. Why are the actions of the man on the night shift a betrayal?

    23. “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark” 1. Why does Papa wake up tired in the dark?

    24. “Born Bad” 1. How does Esperanza feel when her Aunt Lupe dies? Why does she feel this way?

    25. “Geraldo” 1. Why is Marin upset when Geraldo dies? Was his death inevitable (unavoidable)?

    26. “Edna’s Ruthie” 1. How are Ruthie and Esperanza alike?

    27. “Earl of Tennessee” 1. How is Earl like a cockroach?

    28. “Sire” • Why is Esperanza afraid of Sire? 2. Why is she so curious about what he does with Louis, and why does this curiosity make her feel as though “everything is holding it’s breath inside me” (73).

    29. “Four Skinny Trees” 1. How are the four skinny trees like Esperanza?

    30. “No Speak English” • What is wrong with Mamacita that she sits all day by the window? • Why is Mamacita so upset when her baby boy starts to sing the Pepsi Commercial?

    31. “Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays” • What is making Rafaela grow old? • Why does Rafaela ask the kids to buy her things from the store?

    32. “Sally” • What are the two sides of Sally? • What does Esperanza wish for?

    33. “Minerva Writes Poems” • What kind of cycle is Minerva trapped in? 2. How does Esperanza feel when Minerva visits her all black and blue?

    34. “Bums in the Attic” • Why has Esperanza stopped joining her family on their Sunday outings? • Why would Esperanza allow bums to stay in her attic?

    35. “A Smart Cookie” • To whom does Esperanza’s mother refer to when she talks about the “comrades”? • Why did Esperanza’s mother quit school?

    36. “What Sally Said” 1. What do we learn about Sally’s family life?

    37. “The Monkey Garden” 1. How does the Monkey Garden change?

    38. “Red Clowns” • How does Sally betray Esperanza at the amusement park? • Why does Esperanza think the books and magazines lied? About what?

    39. “Linoleum Roses” • What eventually happens to Sally? • How does Esperanza feel about this?

    40. “The Three Sisters” • What kind of future do the three sisters predict for Esperanza? • What is the responsibility they place on her?

    41. “Alice and I Talking on the Steps” 1. Why doesn’t Esperanza consider the house on Mango Street to be her own?

    42. “A House of My Own” 1. What are some of the features of Esperanza’s dream house?

    43. “Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes” • What does Esperanza realize about herself in the final vignette? • How does the story of The House on Mango Street complete a circle?

    44. Final Response (Write a good-sized paragraph) Nearly all the characters in The House on Mango Street dream of escaping, why do they want to leave? Describe the different ways in which people try to escape, as well as the results of their efforts. Do you think Esperanza’s dreams or escaping are likely to be more successful?