The House on Mango Street Chapters 1-25 Summary

The book The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros is a collection of stories, the first of which is titled "The House on Mango Street." It's told from a first person point of view, which because the book is somewhat autobiographical, can be considered to be Sandra as a child. She lives with her parents in Chicago, and they change apartments often as their family grows. On Mango Street she lives with her brothers Carlos and Kiki and her sister Nenny. Along with her parents, the six of them share one bedroom. She is embarrassed by this third floor apartment above a laundromat that gets boarded up due to a robbery. Her parents tell her that this apartment will only be temporary, but she knows better.


The second chapter "Hairs" is about how each member in her family has a different type of her with hers being lazy and not holding barrettes to her mother's being curly, sweet-smelling, and beautiful. The next chapter "Boys & Girls" explains how her two brothers stick together, but they don't talk to their sisters when they're outside of the house. Her younger sister wants to play with her and follows her around, but the narrator longs for a real best friend.


"My Name" explains that her name is Esperanza after her grandmother. It is never shortened unlike her sister Magdalena, whom they call Nenny. She doesn't want to be like her grandmother who looked out a window all her life, tamed by her husband. In "Cathy Queen of Cats" she talks about her neighbor who owns a bunch of different cats. When she goes to talk to her, the cat lady tells her that she is moving because the neighborhood is getting bad, which Esperanza knows refers to people like her moving in.


In "Our Good Day" she describes how she runs into two girls, Lucy and her sister Rachel, who moved in from Texas. They want to all chip in to buy a bike together, so they ask Esperanza if she will put in five dollars. Despite the cat lady warning her not to, she agrees, with the help of two dollars that she takes from Nenny. The three of them all ride on the bicycle together with Esperanza on the seat, Lucy pedaling, and Rachel sitting on the handlebars. In "Laughter" she explains how even though she and Nenny don't look alike, they resemble each other in other ways, such as their sudden, loud laughter. Esperanza saw a house that reminded her of Mexico for some reason, and her sister looked at it and said that she was thinking the same thing.


"Gil's Furniture Bought & Sold" describes a dark, junk store that Esperanza and Nenny wander through. The black owner watches them quietly through his glasses until Nenny asks him about a wooden box. He says it's a music box, and it fills the cramped store with wonderful sounds, but when Nenny reaches for her money, he says it's not for sale. The chapter "Meme Ortiz" is about a neighbor boy named Juan, but who calls himself Meme who moved into Cathy's house after she left. Cathy's father had built the house, so many of the floors were slanted, and it didn't have any closets. Meme had a sheepdog that ran in the yard barking at the large tree they had in front. The neighborhood children decided to have a Tarzan contest using that big tree, which Meme won, but he broke both arms. "Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin" explains that there was a basement apartment under Meme's house that his mother rented to Louie and his family. His female cousin Marin lives there along with a male cousin. Louie's cousin drove up one time in a big yellow Cadillac that he let all the neighborhood children take a ride in until he heard sirens and made them all jump out. Then he sped up the street and crashed into a lamppost where the cops grabbed him and hauled him away as the children waved.




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