Cisneros is not only taking us through Esperanza's life as a coming of age story, she is also painting a picture of her neighborhood and her culture. Of the vignettes you read for today, which sticks out to you and the most important in terms of character development? Which one helps define the culture? (These could be the same) Which vignette strikes you most in terms of writing style?
 


Maddoe Williams
10/29/2012 9:22am

All of the vignettes in this section were striking and added to the picture of Esperanza's culture, but a few stuck out more than others. The section about Rafaela is one if these. The idea that she is contained to her house 24/7 is very striking because of the reality of it. This adds to the Statement that people in Mexico "don't like their women strong". In the Hispanic culture this is a norm. The section about Sally is very depression but true in a similar way to Rafaelas's situation. Esperanza sees Sally as a girl who would do anything to get away; a girl who is misunderstood. The chapter about Saly also strikes me the most with its writing style. It has a somber, down-trodden tone, and the flow if it adds to this. It is written as if Esperanza sees the horror and depressing reality of Sally's life in a way that Sally herself cannot. These two snippets focus mostly on the lives of women on Mango Street, but they develope Esperanza's character as she learns more about how her life is, and will continue to be expected to be like. By examining the situations of women she is surrounded by, readers can see how Esperanza learns more about her own culture and what is expected of women in it.

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10/29/2012 2:24pm

I really like the part where you talk about Rafaela and compared it to earlier when they said that they don't like their women strong. That really does make you see the Hispanic culture and the life of some women.

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10/30/2012 3:59am

I really like your description about this section! I have to agree. Some chapters were hard to understand, but they were all very striking and definitely contributed to Cisneros message.

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Emma Chester
10/29/2012 12:36pm

As far as character development goes, Born Bad stands out the most to me. So far, the story has consistently been childlike, showing Esperanza's youth and immaturity. This section reveals more about her growing up. In this vignette, she repeatedly notes that Aunt Lupe listened to her poems, suggesting that not many people do listen to what she has to say, but she wants to be heard. Also, the guilt that she feels after making fun of Aunt Lupe shows development and the beginning of becoming an adult. In this part, Esperanza's desire to be recognized and her gradual maturing becomes evident. The vignette that most effectively defines the culture to me is Sire. Esperanza tells how she walks differently than the other girls do past Sire, straight ahead. She mentions that he is scared, but she can't let him know that. This shows how it's completely normal for people living in that area to feel vulnerable and apprehensive, but that they deal with it on a regular basis; it's just something that they accept. Esperanza then talks about Sire and Lois in a casual tone, not aware of what they're doing. She even says that she wants to be like that, to have a man like that. It's king of frightening, actually. The vignette that strikes me the most that has to do with writing style is Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark. It is a short one, but it is full of such string imagery when Esperanza is describing her father. It also has a lot of repetition and deliberate word choice. It really says so much in so few lines. I really liked that section.

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Alex Forsythe
10/29/2012 1:11pm

I have mutual feelings about born bad. I think she matured a lot as well. Aunt Lupe just wanted someone to keep her company, and although Esperanza did that, she went behind her back and still made fun of her. This is typical of a child to because they're immature, but once Aunt Lupe dies, Esperanza realizes that she never would have done it.

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Danielle Curley
10/29/2012 2:38pm

Of the vignettes I read today the one that really stuck out to me was Four Skinny Trees. That on was an analogy of Esperanza and the trees. She compares herself with them and how they have skinny elbows like her (74). She talks about how to survive they have to keep to survive and when she herself can’t keep she looks at the trees. The vignette that stuck out to me the in terms of character development was Born Bad, it shows how she had her childish ways that would mock her aunt lope’s sickness for a game but grew to regret it when her aunt passed. This contributed to her coming of age. The vignette that stuck out to me cultural wise was Papa Who Wakes up Tired in the Dark, it described what some of the Mexican Culture is. When Esperanza’s grandpa died the author talked about how all the family will take a black and white photo.

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Danielle c
10/29/2012 5:20pm

did not mean to put that as a reply there whoops

Danielle Curley
10/29/2012 2:40pm

I agree about Born Bad, it adds to the coming of age. It also made me feel bad that she would do that to her aunt.

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Alex Forsythe
10/29/2012 1:05pm

All of the vingettes were striking, but some were more than others. The vingette about Papa's father dying really brought out the Mexican culture. Most Americans don't take a black and white photo in front of the tomb. Cisneros also says that they have spear shaped flowers as well which is how they send the dead away respectively. I also think Esperanza goes through character development in this section also. She makes a realization of how awful it would be to lose her father, and she grows from that realization. Esperanza goes through character development in the section where her aunt dies as well. Her and her friends make fun of her for the way she looks because she is sick, but when she dies, Esperanza realizes that acting like that was wrong. She feels very guilty for treating her like that considering she was dying. I feel as if she matured from this situation. Mexican culture is obvious in the section of the character Mamacita. Most Mexicans who come to live in Americs have troubles learning English, and that is something Mamacita struggles with. She only knows how to speak a few words in our language, and I can't even fathom being so far away from your homeland and not being able to communicate with anyone. Another section I found striking in the aspect of culture was the one that talked about getting judged Mango street. It says most people who move in judge them because they're Mexican and frightening. They're just humam beings. Esperanza is like every other child in America growing up. It shouldn't matter what color her skin is. Lastly, I think the section about Esperanza's Grandpa dying had good writing style. It was still short and to the point, but it used more description compared to othersothers in the book. She was explaining the book culture more vividly, and also how she was feeling.

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Maddie Williams
10/29/2012 1:23pm

Alex I really like what you said about the Mamacita section. I can't imagine how homesick and horrible she must have felt. I think that the way the man in that section treated her when she was upset also portraits a lot about the culture.

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Kelsey Berndt
10/29/2012 3:33pm

I think what you said about the section where Esperanza's grandpa dies is perfect.

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10/29/2012 4:54pm

I also see where culture is revealed in the way Esperanza's father reacted to her grandfather's death. Just the traditions dealing with the funeral and everything show a great contrast to how mourning is reacted to typically in American culture. There are more proceedings and culturally significant objects incorporated with the the funeral. I found it interesting that Esperanza, being the oldest, had to break the news to her other family members. That is tough, especially since she is a kid herself. She had to be really strong in that moment. She thought about what it would be like to lose her own father. That thought process alone proves she was maturing.

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Colby Clark
10/29/2012 1:23pm

The vignette that stood out to me for character development was Born Bad. This passage shows Esperanza in a time of transition, from looking at things as a child, to looking at them through a more mature lens. Previous to this chapter, Esperanza had not shown much maturity because she was still youthful and full of innocence. But in this section she felt regret and guilt, two traits of becoming more mature. The vignette No Speak English helped the define the culture the best to me. I genuinely felt bad for the woman who wanted nothing more than to be home, while everyone around her was adopting American culture as their own. The final page (78) was very striking to me. I would also say that this passage was my favorite stylistically. The irony at the end was clever but sad. The imagery and dialogue in this section also made this my favorite piece of writing.

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Sara Buckle
10/29/2012 2:41pm

I really loved No Speak English and felt bad for the character, too. I could feel her panic at the end of the vignette, where she is telling her baby not to speak English. That just really struck me.

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10/29/2012 2:18pm

All of the vignettes in this story so far have struck me somehow. The style of writing or the story she is telling are always so different it is hard to know what to expect. So far the vignette that helped my see into the culture of this book was No Speak English, I found that interesting because the poor women just wanted to go back to her country and when her child began to talk English and she wanted him to stop, I found that really heartbreaking in the sense she could not stand it here and just wanted to be where she felt normal. The one that has helped me see into the characters is Born Bad but also Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark because so far these to vignettes seem to show Esperanza showing a more mature side than her normal childish actions and stories. The writing style of Papa Who Wakes Up in the Dark was very powerful, there was a lot of imagery used as well as an important part of her life put in to so few words, made it creatively thought out and unusual in a good way. This book is getting better as it goes along and I am glad we are able to read it.

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Kyle Frazier
10/29/2012 6:57pm

Yeah, each vignette is kind of personal and sticks out in their own way. She included specific metaphors and similes in each one, its hard to believe she hasn't used the same ones twice. The No Speak English passage was good on its own as well. The reader can tell that she wants to go back, but the son feels like he's found a new home. This probably feels heartbreaking for the mother to hear. I don't know if I'm really starting to like the book or not though.

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Caitlin Morgan
10/29/2012 2:19pm

I believe, "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark," has illustrated best the development of Esperanza. She shifts abruptly from immature quarrels between friends in earlier vignettes, over to a very grave situation in which she is forced to grow up and handle. That she knows she must assume this adult-like role while her father is grieving really shows the degree of which she has grown. The most culturally informative would have to either be "No Speak English" or "Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays." "No Speak English" gives the reader a better understanding of the disconnect between languages, and the harsh toll of which Hispanic-Americans must carry, especially those who have watched their own children speak in a tongue they cannot reach. "Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice on Tuesdays" paints a rather effortless, yet brutal picture of how Esperanza's culture looks towards the dominance of man over woman. Relative to writing style, "Four Skinny Trees" has been the most profound so far, in my opinion. She exposes this poetic depth to Esperanza's character, a certain weighted sadness mirrored within the trees that makes the reader want to care for her, or even at the least, gets their mind floating in the same manner she demonstrates.

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Jeff Lueders
10/29/2012 5:17pm

I could not agree more with your blog. "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark" definitely shows growth in Esperanza and how she is no longer as much of a child as she was before. And "Four Skinny Trees" was also one of my favorites, I love the analogy she makes towards life on Mango Street in that one, and it shows a greater understanding of things by Esperanza.

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Jeff Lueders
10/29/2012 5:19pm

Aha... I have I could not agree with your blog. I MEANT I could not agree with your blog more. Sorry for the typo

Sara Buckle
10/29/2012 2:38pm

Born Bad was very important to the character development of Esperanza, because that is where you really get a deep feel for her struggles with herself and culture. As for actually defining the culture though, I think that a couple of the vignettes tie it together, especially those that independently talk about a single character (Sire, The Earl of Tennessee, Sally, etc), because it illustrates the people's standards and what these characters are going through, rather than only Esperanza. My favorite in terms of writing style was a tie between Sally and Sire. I especially liked the line "Everything was holding its breath inside of me," (73). There is so much description. I love it!

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Carley Grau
10/30/2012 4:15am

My whole paragraph is really similar to yours, I agree with you on born bad being important to Esperanza and her culture and the line on page 73 caught my attention too.

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Ravi Shah
10/29/2012 2:44pm

In this section of The House on Mango Street, I thought the section that stuck the most was "No Speak English". This is because it is completely true for immigrants who come here from other countries who don't know how to speak English that it is hard to learn and some just don't try. My grandmother was born, raised, and has lived in Kenya for most of her life, and she is barely able to speak English, so I know that it can be hard for people to learn. The most important section for character development in my opinion was "The First Job," because that section was all about how Esperanza is growing up by getting her first job, and how she deals with the changes in her life. The one that best defined the culture for me was "Geraldo No Last Name," because it shows how easy it is for something bad to happen to lower class immigrants, and how if it does happen, they have no contacts or family close by. It also shows how the family they do have may never learn about what has happened to them, and they may just forget about him. The one that strikes me most for her writing style is "Hips," because it exemplifies the idea of this story being written from the eyes of a child, as the girls are singing these rhymes as they jump rope, and the broken thoughts are like that of most children and teenagers. This is a great example of the style she is trying to demonstrate in the story and helps get an idea for the way the characters think.

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Evan Scieszka
10/29/2012 2:57pm

I have similiar feelings for "Speak No English" becauses it is certainly one of the more powerful passages in the book. I also liked your ideas of writing style with "Hips" because although I did not choose it I like the analysis on that section.

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Colby Clark
10/30/2012 4:49am

I agree with you about "No Speak English", it was a powerful passage. I think it is cool how you could relate it to your grandmother, it definitely makes it a lot more personal.

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Evan Scieszka
10/29/2012 2:52pm

I felt that the vignette that showed the most growth and development for Esperanza was “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark” because the sudden movement from childhood moments to Esperanza having to comfort her own father and step up to be the adult and tell all of her siblings really shows development. After this most of the vignette’s focus on one specific person that holds a certain aspect of the culture in Esperanza’s neighborhood. Some specific ones that stood out to me were “Edna’s Ruthie” and “No Speak English” because The one about Ruthie shows that family sticks together no matter what and that although their struggles one family member will always foster another that is in need. The one with Mamacita shows that although the United States is often viewed as a promise land for Mexican immigrants, many face a harsh reality when they come to the United States and find themselves helpless not knowing English and having no prior experience. It shows that all the hard work people put in to get here only makes them miss home more. The vignette that has the best writing style is “Born Bad” because Cisneros uses multiple examples of anaphora and similes that make the entire section very interesting. The vague language that Cisneros uses doesn’t come right out and tell the reader what is going on. This makes this particular vignette my favorite. As this point as I get further on in the story, it only continues to get better. I hope that this trend continues.

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Ravi Shah
10/29/2012 3:12pm

I agree with the character development, and think that it was important to show how Esperanza is growing into an adult, and how "Edna's Ruthie," and "No Speak English," were important to the culture of the area. I think that these sections also show how people can care for each other a lot as in "Edna's Ruthie," but families can also be torn apart by the harsh realities, like in "No Speak English," when the woman's son starts to yell at her about learning English and starting to work.

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10/29/2012 4:00pm

I agree with Even, after papa who wakes up tired in the dark, her writing does focus on a specific charecter which makes it a turning point for the book. I feel like she doesn't want to miss anyone who was in her childhood.

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Zachary Grover
10/29/2012 4:58pm

I agree with Evan especially in the writing style portion, I also found many rhetorical strategies as I read through Born Bad.

Jeremy M. Barker
10/29/2012 4:36pm

I agree with Evan especially on the "Papa Who Wakes Up in the Dark." Esperanza does show maturity by trying to comfort her father by asking herself what she would do in that situation. I also believe that the examples of the many people in her life reflect the culture, such as "No Speak English," but also many more.

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Collin Halamka
10/29/2012 3:04pm

Of all the vignettes in this book, the one that sticks out the most for me in terms of character development was "Born Bad." The shift from playful girl to realized what she did to her Aunt Lupe and realizing death. Instead of a matter of fact tone like the person who jumped, she had a more honest feeling towards her. As for which one defines the culture, I'd say "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark" best defines it. It shows how Hispanic family funerals differ from the American norm, with the spear shaped arrows and pictures in front of the tombs. The best example of writing style is "The Earl of Tennessee." The similes like "...leap and somersault like an apostrophe and a comma" are evident. Also evident are Cisneros' style of dialogue and general story telling. I hope the rest of the book is like all of these, put together.

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Kelsey Berndt
10/29/2012 3:27pm

I think that the most culturally revealing vignettes have been "Rafaela Who Drinks Coconut & Papaya Juice On Tuesdays" and "No Speak English." These both depict the bleak future Esperanza and her friends have to look forward, if they aren't able to escape from Mango Street. The "Rafaela" vignette also relates back to the "My Name" vignette, when Esperanza explains that Mexicans "don't like their women strong" (10). I think that all the vignettes in this section show Esperanza maturing. "Four Skinny Trees" and "Born Bad" reveal Esperanza to be much deeper than the first 48 pages did, "Sire" exposes her feelings to fall in love, and "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark" display her responsibiliest as the oldest child. The most striking vignette was "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark." I think, like others have said, that Cisneros creates very powerful imagery in an incredibly short snapshot. I could picture exactly what was happening, like I was standing in the room with Esperanza and her father.

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Kathleen Risk
10/29/2012 3:37pm

Esperanza showed the most development in “Born Bad.” From playing a childish game to dealing with the guilt over her aunts death, we see a tough lesson that she has to go through. After making fun of her aunt with her friends, her aunt dies, and she feels incredibly guilty for how she didn’t treat her aunt better, or appreciate the fact that Aunt Lupe listened to her. The vignette that defined the culture for me, undoubtedly like many others, was “No Speak English.” Reading of the cultural barriers of overcoming a barrier and the homesickness really showed what Hispanics, and immigrants in general, have to deal with when they come to our country. The most striking vignette for me was “Four Skinny Trees.” Cisneros uses words like ”ferocious” and “violent” to describe the strength of those four unassuming trees, and it used a lot of symbolism that worked well.

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taylor
10/29/2012 4:47pm

I felt the same way reading Born Bad. It tore me. I can also relate because when I was little I remember do things that were bad and not realize they were bad. Now when I go back and reflect on what I have done I feel bad and wish I would have known then what I know now and go back in time and not have done it in the first place.

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Colby Clark
10/30/2012 4:51am

I thought "Born Bad" and "No Speak English" were my favorite vignettes from any I have read so far.

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10/29/2012 3:57pm

In these Vingnetes, I feel that Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark was the most influential. For character development nothing changes a person like having to inform little ones that some one they love and cherish is never going to be with them again. Not only for Papa, but for Esperanza. This chapter was short, but the message was painfully clear.

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Leland Dunwoodie
10/29/2012 4:47pm

I agree that this is a striking vignette. There is a lot of culture in this vignette too. I also liked the way you said "someone they love and cherish is never going to be with them again" because that writing is emotional and accurate. I'm hoping you'll add the other two parts to your answer though! Sir William...haha

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10/29/2012 5:00pm

Sorry I left out the other two parts. thanks to Leland for reminding me. I think that Sire is a the most striking in culture. It was very disturbing, and so vivid that I could clearly see everything that was going on. The hate is almost felt from her family to the "punk". It was really striking. The most striking in writting style has to be "Four Skinny Trees". The parallelism she uses to describe her life to the trees, and how they are inspiring because they only have one purpose and that is to be and be.

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Austin Latack
10/29/2012 8:12pm

"Four Skinny Trees" was my favorite too. It was beyond captivating and it looks like it almost doesn't belong in this book because it is so advanced for her age. She does a great job with this extended metaphor and relating it to her life vividly.

The Jeremy M. Barker
10/29/2012 4:27pm

I am seeing a lot of character development from these vignettes. Mainly because these are memories it is easy to see how the character is growing in her life. One that shows development is "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark" where it says that Esperanza had ended up thinking about what she would do if her father passed away. That is a more mature way of think since shes trying to relate or prepare herself and shows development. Other ways development in her character is shown by how many random people who pass through her life. Some are only mentioned once, but they also left some kind of effect on her life. As for culture goes it is shown that where she is from it is not very wealthy. One part that I thought reflected the culture was how in "The First Job" she was told by her Papa that people who go to public schools turn out bad. This shows that in Esperanza's culture the children probably often have to work to afford private schooling because their parents can't pay the cost. One vignette that really stuck out to me was "Four Skinny Trees." I think that this section really shows her childish thoughts of being able to relate to trees. She says that only she appreciates them showing it is just her personal thoughts. It is built out of her imagination that these trees actually posses meaning.

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The Colli R. Hala
10/29/2012 5:22pm

I agree with you on the development by the people who pass by her. She only included the important, striking ones in memory. I also like how what you said about how most people in this town cannot afford private school, and how she needs to get a job so she can afford the private school, and so she can turn out well. She wants to turn out well.

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taylor Dale
10/29/2012 4:41pm

The vignette that stood out in terms of character development is Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark. All the other ones leading up to this one were of Esperanza as a child and doing childish things. This one really shows that she is growing up and becoming more responsible. Especially when Cisneros writes, “Because I am the oldest, my father told me first, and now it is my turn to tell the others. I will have to explain why we can’t play. I will have to tell them to be quiet today” (57). Sandra Cisneros really brings out how Esperanza is maturing and growing up. The one that stood out in terms of culture is No Speak English because it discusses the struggles immigrants have living in America. The author expresses the language barrier. Esperanza explains how her neighbor only knows a few English phrases and how her father only ate ham and eggs when he came to America because he only knew how to say, “hamandeggs” (77). Finally the one that stood out the most in terms of writing style is Four Skinny Trees. It had an amplitude of repetition. There is great deal of the word “four”. It also has an antithesis at the beginning, “They are the only ones who understand me. I am the only one who understands them” (74). Or at least I think it is an antithesis. Cisneros also uses personification and similes. Examples are, “They send ferocious roots beneath the ground” (74) and “… they’d all droop like tulips in a glass…” (75). So far I really love this read.

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Katelyn Tillstrom
10/29/2012 7:24pm

I like what you said about the charavter development one. That makes sense. I never really thought about how she suddenly had to grow up because of that.

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Leland Dunwoodie
10/29/2012 4:44pm

"Born Bad" is the vignette in this section in which Esperanza develops the most. Esperanza grows up a little when she realizes that playing a game that makes fun of her blind and dying Aunt was childish and shouldn't have been done. The vignette is most striking in terms of culture is "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark." In this section the reader learns of hispanic post-death traditions in detail. The most striking vignette in terms of style from this section is "The First Job." This section is striking because Cisneros describes Esperanza's first day with her new job in detail and then writes that Esperanza gets sexually abused and ends the vignette on a cliff hanger with Esperanza getting abused. I am wondering if Cisneros will come back to this cliff hangar later in the story, but it is intriguing how Cisneros chose to end on a cliff hangar and not address the aftermath of the situation in the following pages.

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10/29/2012 4:45pm

As far as character development, Cisneros makes Esperanza out to be a very sympathetic and observant young girl. Esperanza is also quite naive shown on page 69, when Ruthie is brought up. This is seen here: “Only thing I can’t understand is why Ruthie is living on Mango Street if she doesn’t have to...but she says she’s just visiting and next weekend her husband’s going to take her home. But the weekends come and go and Ruthie stays. No matter. We are glad because she is our friend”(69). There are signs suggesting Ruthie is odd, probably challenged and yet Esperanza is accepting of the fact that Ruthie is not all there cognitively. Something that was rather unlike Esperanza’s character or counterintuitive is on page 58 in Born Bad, when Esperanza is insensitive disrespectful to her dying aunt by her and her friends imitating her aunt while she was suffering a sick and dying state. That was low, especially since Esperanza got complimented on a poem/ writing skills by the aunt. On page 62 Esperanza appears to be eager to see the future, maybe because she is curious, or maybe because she wants to grow up faster or something. These assumptions are supported at the part called Sire, page 73, when the reader now looks through Esperanza’s eyes and can picture Sire looking at her intensely and her noticing the meaningful stares, proof she is getting older and perceptive of boys more. It is also evident she is jealous, as predicted by the fortune teller. She is jealous of Sire’s girlfriend and how mature she is and the way the girlfriend, Lois, could be in a relationship with Sire.

The style Cisneros uses is that she includes descriptions of scents, people’s feet, and colors, people’s eyes and the make-up the girls wear, all of the little things. One example of scents and feet and colors all wrapped into one sentence about Lois is displayed here, “...I saw her barefoot baby toenails all painted pale pale pink, like little pink seashells, and she smells pink like babies do”(69.) Cisneros does another example like this on page 76.

No Speak English page 76 and Geraldo No Last Name page 65 deal with culture. With No Speak No English, Esperanza observes Mamacita who is someone moving in from her Spanish homeland and is having a lot of trouble adapting, not willing to leave her house or to learn to speak English and sings and sobs often because she misses her real home. Plus she tries to paint her house pink. She is not satisfied and her husband is frustrated. This resistance to become more American and domesticate, in a sense, is hard for Mamacita and Geraldo as well. For Geraldo, he was hit and killed in an accident and Cisneros really points out in many places that no one really cares, because he is a Spanish speaking foreigner, which is unfair and discriminatory She says, “But what difference does it make?” and “What does it matter...His name was Geraldo. And his home is in another country. The ones he left behind are far away, will wonder, shrug, remember”(66).

Four Skinny Trees strikes me the most in terms of writing style, which is on page 74. I liked how she called them raggedy excuses. I also thought the last line was powerful: “Four whose only reason is to be and be”(75). I also liked how she uses personification by saying: “They grow up and they grow down and grab the earth between their hairy toes and bite the sky with violent teeth and never quit their anger”(74). Gives such vivid imagery.

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Jeff Lueders
10/29/2012 5:29pm

Wow! I read your blog mainly because I noticed it was the longest one on here (at least so far). But I must say it's probably the best one on here as well. Though you go into deep detail, more than what was assigned, you show great understanding of all the vignettes you mention. I think if everyone read your post, it would be nearly impossible not to want and take something from what you wrote. (Lucky for me I read yours after I posted)

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Zachary GRover
10/29/2012 4:53pm

While reading this section I agree with many people in the fact that Born Bad displays the feeling of a need to quickly grow up. However For culture the section titled Elentia Cards Palm Water stuck out to me. Growing up in a Mexican Catholic household all of this was very familiar the Holy Candles and Palm Sunday cross, for many this may seem to be religious not cultural, but being Hispanic I realize that it actually very much is culture that is being displayed here, Especially in the phrase Los Espiritus this phrase is very common in Mexican household meaning the spirits and as reflected in El Dia de los Muertos or even just a ta regular funeral the idea of los espiritus is frequently used. In writing style Four Skinny trees awas the particular section that stood out, how she related Esperanza to a tree was remarkable to me and how she continued this metaphor in the vignette really stuck out to me.

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Michael Gorton
10/29/2012 5:43pm

I love how you mention the culture displayed throughout the text because that is another thing I enjoy about this book. It suits the writing so well given the background of Esperanza and Cisneros.

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Kaytlynn Toering
10/29/2012 5:06pm

To me, the vignette that stands out the most to me in terms of character development would be Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark. During this section, Esperenza really seems to grow up, and learns that life is short, and the people you care about the most in life won't always be by your side (56-57). Cisneros displays a vulnerable side to Esperenza as she holds her father, and thinks about the day when her father will no longer be by her side (57). A death of a family member is a strong way for people to mature in huge ways and accept the new changed life before them. Also, Esperenza assumes the adult role when she has to take cre of her siblings and explain to them the hard time their family is going through (56-57). From a culture aspect, the vignette that sticks out the most to me is No Speak English. It talks about the people who move to Mango Street from another comfort place, and how they necessarily don't fit in. Mamacita cannot speak English and she longs for her hometown (77). This shows how difficult transition is and how difficult people have it in life who are unfamiliar with a culture or area. The vignette with the most noticeable writing style was Born Bad. This section was put in an extended metaphor and the details errupted so sharply in my brain. You could see the events happening and because it was such an influencing memory to Esperenza, the writing style was very strong. The different refernces to things and the common sentence structure made this section very strong and independent from the rest of Cisneros' writing.

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Zoey Holmstrom
10/29/2012 8:24pm

I feel the same way about 'Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark'. I liked the point you made that this shows Esperanza's vulnerable side, that now she has to take on some responsibility that she hasn't ever even thought of taking on prior to this event. She really takes a step in the right direction to being independent here by realizing that you can lose someone close to you at any time.

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Jeff Lueders
10/29/2012 5:10pm

In terms of character development the vignette that stuck out most to me was "Four Skinny Trees". Here, Cisneros shows how she began to realize life in a different way. The trees represent life on Mango Street and how it is hard to grow while being there - but not impossible. This passage gives a great description on how the trees "send ferocious roots beneath the ground" and "grow down and grab the earth". This shows how she learned that she must embrace living on Mango Street before she can move past living on Mango Street. For me this just shown as a great jump in maturity to be able to compare her situation with something else. In means of describing the culture of Mango Street, I found "Geraldo No Last Name" to be the best example. In this vignette it tells of how Marin was at a party and danced with a man named Geraldo, then later he was found dead. It showed how their culture did not care that he died though. The explanation on how little Marin knew about him became laborious, emphasizing how she had to tell the same story three times. It also shows the disrespect of their culture by saying "He wasn't her boyfriend or anything like that. Just another brazer who didn't speak English." Brazer being the equivalent of a white person being called a gringo in a Hispanic community. Finally the vignette that struck me most in means of writing style was "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark." This was my favorite of all thus far. I found it amazing how Cisneros fit so much emotion into such a small space: 5 paragraphs, only 11 sentences. I also enjoyed this because I already knew the Spanish linguistics that were dropped in and it added greatly to my view on this vignette. It was one of the most touching out all and I love the ending. "And I think if my own Papa died what would I do. I hold my Papa in my arms. I hold and hold and hold him."

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Courtney Bennett
10/29/2012 5:31pm

I also thought that "Four Skinny Trees" was a very descriptive and symbolic vignette. Although it was striking to me in terms of language and meaning, I didn't really analyze it as a reflection of Esperanza's growth until I read your post. But now I can see how this can be an important point in Esperanza's character growth as well. Thank you for the perspective!

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David Tarnowski
10/29/2012 6:10pm

Jeff, I love the fact that you picked "Four Skinnny Trees" for your vignette. When I first read it I just kind of just read it and moved on. After reading your post I went back and read it again and this time I was able to take much more from it. The fact that you were able to pick up on the symbolism of that is awesome. I totally agree with you. I think that we see a little more of that sort of development further on in our reading. Great observations!

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Kaitlyn Wade
10/29/2012 5:13pm

To me, "Born Bad" was the most striking vingnette of this section. For the first time in this book, I felt as if Esperanza wasnt a little girl anymore, but a girl who is deeply troubled with things that people have told her and things that have happened to her. I mean my goodness her first line is, "Most likely I will go to hell, and most likely I deserve to be there." She believes it. I saw Cisneros development of Esperanza through the mere innocence of the game they played. They were just playing a guessing game, but it turned out to be hurtful when her aunt actually passed away. To me, "No Speak English" was the most culturally defining passages of this section. It wasnt just her use of spanish words like "mamacita" but the entire story of the lady. I saw through the mans works to bring her and her son to America, her obligation to stay, and her disappointment when her son spoke english gave me the sense of Mexican culture. From what I know, family is important along with reserving their own culture and this part showcases that the best. But, Four Skinny Trees struck me in terms of writing style. It was hard for me to initially understand, but the trees were a giant metaphor that was showcased in a perfect way.

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Kylie Wermund
10/29/2012 7:17pm

I also think that Born Bad was a turning point for Esperanza. She showed that she was maturing. She really showed that she was questioning things and feeling bad even when things weren't her fault which is not something a younng child would do.

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Evan Kiel
10/29/2012 7:20pm

I pretty much wrote the same exact thing as you but I liked your point about The first line in Born Bad it is what you believe as a child. You feel terrible for things you think and feel that they will haunt you forever

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Courtney Bennett
10/29/2012 5:18pm

I found “Edna's Ruthie” to be culturally expressive of the crushed aspirations of Hispanic women. The vignette describes the trap that Ruthie fell into by abandoning her hopes and dreams for a husband who is not coming back. I think this may reflect Hispanic culture and the unreached potential of some women who choose to play the role of a wife instead of finding a career. Out of all the vignettes, I found “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark” to be the most striking as far as character development. Like a lot of you, I found it to be a pivotal point in Esperanza's coming of age. Her growth and maturity shines through in this section because it seems that, for a time, she has switched roles with her father. She is the one comforting him for once. She also takes on the responsibility of telling the other children the news, which indicates her mature understanding of the situation. In terms of language, I liked “Four Skinny Trees” the best. The descriptions of the trees were really rich and detailed. Cisneros uses strong metaphors and similes that paint a vivid and powerful picture. The analogy between Esperanza and the trees really stuck with me. It really reflects on Esperanza's inner strength and the strength she draws from Nenny, Lucy, and Rachel.

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Rachel T
10/29/2012 6:20pm

I loved the chapter "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark" as well. It was a very emotional chapter that showed a lot of maturity. "Four Skinny Trees" also was a wonderful way of comparing Esperanza and Cisneros did a beautiful job with writing it.

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Dylan Gustafson
10/29/2012 7:11pm

I liked how you were able to notice growth in Esperanza from Nenny, Lucy, and Rachel. After thinking about, I guess she has grown. I would have never thought she would grow from them.

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Michael Gorton
10/29/2012 5:36pm

Man, compared to all of these elaborate responses, I feel like I have little to comment on this time. The randomness of topic seemed to level off after the first few sections, but then it picked right back up again "Geraldo No Last Name" (65). If there is a central plot to this book, I am having a hard time identifying it. The use of rhetoric, writing style, and language is outstanding, but sometimes it loses me in the reading. Out of all of the confusing sections so far, "Four Skinny Trees" was the worst (74). In my opinion, it was very unneeded, and I wish it was left out entirely. On the lighter side, there were a few more particular passages that I adored. "No Speak English" and "Rafaela Who..." were the most powerful sections I have read so far (76-80). The use of imagery and anaphora in both of these chapters was incredible, and made me feel like I was actually there.

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Jared Wendland
10/29/2012 6:44pm

This book seems to be a flip-book of events not really a out front central plot. Call it a flip-book because each event is almost like a picture of an event. Each image a snip-it of a larger picture. But when you put them all together it forms a short little film that makes more scene in the end.

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Owen Carow
10/29/2012 8:03pm

That is an excellent way to put it; all of these vignettes make up some kind of common flavor. I don't think there needs to be much coherence between the stories, it all blends together to create the story of this group of people through one girl's shifting point of view.

David Tarnowski
10/29/2012 6:06pm

To start off, I am still finding this book is still very interesting.

In terms of character development, I think that the vignette that sticks out the most and is most revealing is "Elenita,Cards, Palm, Water". It fully reveals what the reader can already infer. Esperanza is not happy with her life, especially her home. We see this through the fact that Esperanza asks Elenita to read her palms and see whether there would be a new house in her near future. She doesn't want to accept the fact the she will build a new home in her heart and not get a new, real home. I think that this is one of the central themes in the book, seeing as A) that's the title of the book and B) Esperanza mentions this above all things, first thing in the book. Her house on Mango Street, is one of the things Cisneros uses as a symbol to represent the dashed hopes of someones life. After reading some of the other blog posts, I must also agree that "Born Bad" was another crucial vignette in terms of character development. It goes to show the not-so-innocent side of Esperanza. Although it does show this, I think that it also shows how much of a child she still is. She doesn't think about what she is doing until it is too late. Then, she feels bad about imitating this her aunt, who she actually cared for.

I think that the passage that was the most revealing in terms of spanish culture was "No Speak English". The most striking thing that it reveals is the fact that many spanish immigrants that move here do not learn English and so they have a hard time living. I think that a part of them doesn't want to learn, in fear that they may a lose an important part of themselves and their heritage. Another thing that is revealed is the appalling idea of families splitting up so that the father can make enough money for them to survive in a better life. The father in this vignette has to work two jobs, all day, just so that he can afford to move his wife and kid to live with him. This must have been so hard on him. I know that I would have difficulty dealing with something like that.

I would have to say that the most striking passage for me was "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark". One can only imagine the feelings that a young girl feels when she sees her father crying. In society men are expected to be strong and not to cry. "I have never seen my Papa cry and don't knnow what to do" (56). One also sees a more mature side of Esperanza, as she tells her siblings and she comforts her father.

I'm kinda freaked by the sketchy old dude in "The First Job". Anyways...

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Samir Shah
10/29/2012 6:49pm

I like how you incorporated how the immigrants who come to the U.S. may not want to learn English in fear of losing their heritage. i agreed with what you had to say about Born Bad, i felt that that was a very culturally focused passage. I also agree with the most striking passage as Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark, and although i didn't pick that passage, i still think it has a cultural focus.

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Rachel Tuller
10/29/2012 6:34pm

I think the chapter that was most striking was"Papa Who Wakes up Tired in the Dark." It shows that Esperanza is growing up and really cares about what is going on within her family. It also shows responsibility when she states that she's going to have to be the one to tell her siblings. The last line of that chapter is really something. "I hold my Papa in my arms. I hold and hold and hold him (57)." This line, not only does it include polysyndeton but also is just very enchanting. Cisneros continues to use a playful sort of tone as she frequently rhymes and continues to use her short choppy sentences. There are times when I feel like, instead of reading a book, I am looking at a scrapbook full of memories of Esperanza as she grows up and gets older. And Cisneros pulls this off wonderfully. She writes it so that while it might be confusing at first, it turns out to be a wonderful way to read a book. This book is really amazing being full of rhetorical strategies and is really just a nice, easy read.

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Lauren Clem
10/30/2012 4:45am

I really liked the chapter that you first mentioned too! It was sort of the changing point for me at least because it showed the real maturity of Esperenza.

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Jared Wendland
10/29/2012 6:38pm

In our society today it is still a defining stride when a young person makes that move to get a job. Most of the time, this first job sets kids in motion to becoming a mature adult. In the section The First Job this ideal is carried over showing the growth of Esperanza. Not only was the section the most progressive in character development, but also was the most striking for me. Due to Esperanza's narrated emotions and the shocking actions of the old man near the end, this passage had a large impact. After reading this section I really could relate to Esperanza's nerves and it ended up sticking with me the most. I kept thinking I have felt this feeling of being unsure in a different place. This section also left me wondering. What thoughts were in Esperanza's head after that work day, did she tell anyone about what happened, what did see do? As for Which vignette struck me most in terms of writing style had to be Hips. This one had drawing style of pacing itself to the beat of a jump rope. It was probably the most unique in displaying Esperanza's maturity. It also showed her thoughts about her sister, what she said and what she want to say.

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Samir Shah Every Damn Night
10/29/2012 6:42pm

The vignette that stood out to me the most in terms of character development was Born Bad. In this section I noticed that lespedeza’s views on life shift from childish conflicts, to a more broad perspective of thinking. In this section, she first talks about hell, then about disease, and then about the sky. The way she explains them also changes, she uses more complex syntax that drift away from the original short child thoughts. In terms of culture, the section that stood out to me was, Geraldo No Last Name. in this section it shows how immigrants who are poor have to make it on their own. She realizes that when people don’t have family to bring them up, it is easy for them to fail at a new life, and without having contact with their family they will be forgotten about. The passage that stood out most to me in terms of language was al Born Bad. In this section Esperanza speaks with a good amount of anaphora, simile, and metaphor. An example of this is when she says, “ Maybe the sky didn’t look like that when she fell down. Maybe God was busy, Or maybe the story…” (59). Along with rhetoric, she changes the style of writing. For example, she never comes out and says what she really means. She makes the reader really think and infer what she means. She uses long clauses to express detail rather than clarity. Overall the book has been a charming read, and I am looking forward to reading the rest of the book!

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sam j
10/29/2012 6:59pm

I think it's fun how you encorporated Geraldo No Last Name into the hispanic culture. It's interesting how severally you sever your ties with the rest of the world when you travel to a new land. The detail i loved about that was that even though he was able to sever his ties with his own family he wasn't able to sever his ties with whoever came over and did the drive by shooting. Spooky.

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Samuel David Johnson
10/29/2012 6:51pm

As the book progresses you notice change in Esperanza’s maturity via the tone and voice of the text. The vignette “Four Skinny Trees” feels to me the most impactful and harbingers most of the character development that we will see through the main character (74, 75). This is the first moment in which she looks for another strong entity to be her driving aspiration and encouragement. She acknowledges that she has obstacles she must summit as well and that is a hard aspect for young children to understand. The vignette that strikes me as most definitive to their culture is “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark.” This is when Cisneros takes you through the burial of Esperanza’s grandfather. Because it is a funeral it goes without saying that they will stay true to their traditional roots and bury the dead like their ancestors. There were some interesting differences between the a Hispanic burial and a polish burial (The spear-shaped flowers in the white vase for example.) I thought that the dining vignettes stylistically all appeared during the first assigned portion of reading. I wasn’t thrilled about these latest sections. The vignette that I enjoyed the most was “No Speak English” (76-78). I felt the grit in that chapter that is essential for creating the mural of her childhood that I hadn’t yet seen. Stylistically this change of tone really emphasized this chapter.

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Kyle Frazier
10/29/2012 6:53pm

Of character development, the vignette that stuck out was the passage about the witch woman, Elenita. At first the passage was confusing, because I thought it was weird how a fortune teller lives with her family. Esperanza ultimately pays Elenita five dollars to look at her life. Elenita seems to be making up bull crap, but I can’t tell if Esperanza believes what she has to say, which makes it more interesting. Also the way the section ended, “May the Virgin bless you” was an unorthodox, yet peculiar way to end the section (64). The section that I thought defined culture most was the one about Ruthie. Even though the kids can tell Ruthie has a couple screws loose, they don’t treat her differently. They all still play and talk together as if there’s nothing wrong. In terms of writing style, the vignette about Earl struck me most. Cisnero heavily describes Earl’s house, comparing his door to books that have left out in the rain. She adds other metaphors throughout the passage, and describes the” tinkling of dog tags, followed by the heavy jingling of keys” (71). These were three vignettes that really stuck out to me.

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Kasey S.
10/29/2012 6:59pm


Through this book you can see character development of Esperanza. As she slowly grows to slowly understand more and more about the people who surround her and how she can connect with them. The main vignette that got my attention was: “Four Skinny Trees”. When it talked about the trees being the only ones to understand her it really struck me, because we all have moments in life where we feel as though no one truly understands us. The fact that she’s willing to openly admit this shows maturity. This was also the most striking in writing style, because of the grand metaphor between her and the trees. The personification of: “They grow up and they grow down and they grab the earth between their hairy toes and bite the sky with their violent teeth and never quit their anger” (74) Just intensifies her metaphor because this sentence is a way of saying that she feels she keeps trying to be satisfied with her life but she just isn’t and its frustrating her.. All in all, this vignette had a very strong impression on me.

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Dylan Gustafson
10/29/2012 7:05pm

The vignette that really stood out to me was "Four Skinny Trees." I felt that this one really described the hard lives not only of Esperanza, but of the lives of Hispanics. The four skinny trees are a symbol for them. Even though they may face difficult times, they still have the resilience to be strong and look foward. This is also true for Cisneros herself. She had to accept the fact that she lived in a bad neighboorhood and move on from there. For Esperanza, I felt it was a significant showing of growth in her. Earlier in the book when Esperanza was sad, she would just come out and say it and stay that way. Now when she is sad, she looks outside at the trees to remind her to keep believing. "When I am too sad and too skinny to keep keeping, when I am a tiny thing against so many bricks, then it is I look at the trees" (75). The one that strikes me the most with writing style is also "Four Skinny Trees." I really liked how Cisneros was able to use imagery to enhance her tone of hope. A hope that things would be better and to never stop believing. "They grow up and they grow down and grab the earth between their hairy toes and bite the sky with violent teeth and never quit their anger" (74).

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Kylie Wermund
10/29/2012 7:12pm

As far as character development, I think that Born Bad was the most powerful vignette. Esperanza begins to question things that she had been taught throughout her life which is a big step for a child. She also feels bad when her grandma dies and somewhat takes responsibility for it. She seems to be maturing. The vignette that showed the culture of the area the most, for me anyways, was Sire. I liked how Esperanza flat out says that she was scared of him. In fact, everybody was. She says that her mom told her to stay away because he's a "thug." However, she wants to prove that she isn't scared of him. I think this defines the culture by showing that they were used to the somewhat scary people on Mango Street and they knew how to handle themselves. No Speak English struck me the most as far as writing style. I really liked when she said 'hamandeggs" (77). I thought that was really cute and and very representative of how a child would understand it. She also uses repetition a lot in this vingette with the word pink in the middle of the section and "no" at the very end. She also doesn't quote dialogue in this section which I think is also representative of how a child would talk.

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Alex Miller
10/29/2012 7:26pm

I completely forgot about Sire and I am very glad Kylie mentioned it. It did show that Esperanza wanted to make sure that he knew she was not scares of him even though she actually was.

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Evan Kiel
10/29/2012 7:14pm

I feel that the section that Esperanza showed the most character development was Born Bad. She is learning a life lesson that she had previously not experienced the death of someone she truly knew and was attached to. The growth of culture to me seemed to be most evident No Speak English because it showed how some people accepted the new culture and how others don't but it was what they are stuck with and it is a better life to many than they had before. It also shows how much change there is from other countries and how it is hard for many to deal with. In terms of writing style Four skinny Trees struck me the most. I like how it was a giant metaphor that she was noticing. Also it describes the friends perfectly and also seems to imply a continued existence but one that maybe rough.

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Jordon Young
10/29/2012 7:38pm

Wow. We basically said the same thing. Go us?

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Katelyn Tillstrom
10/29/2012 7:21pm

The vignettes read today were all very interesting to read. They each stuck out to me in different ways. When it comes to character development, I would have to say “Geraldo No Last Name.” We finally get to see Marin again. Here, her story is somewhat coming together. Even though it is vague, we’re getting a sense of who she is. She knew the boy and had some kind of relationship with him. That’s all we know now, but at least it’s something. As far as culture, the chapter titled “Elenita, Palms, Cards, Water” comes to mind. It’s harder to find pieces of their culture throughout these stories than one would think. But the fact that Esperanza is so comfortable with the idea of going to the “witch woman” for help says a lot (62). It might be one thing to go as an adult and react this way. But with Esperanza being a child and reacting that way is rather strange. She’s okay with it. It comes across as normal. The vignette that stuck me in terms of writing style was “Four Skinny Trees.” It’s short, but meaningful. It’s all personification. Also, the beginning where the word “four” is repeated sticks out. Esperanza connects with them. Using all of that personification makes it special. We understand it from a different point of view. No one usually looks at a few trees and thinks about how, strong, ferocious, and wise they are (75). I really enjoy these vignettes. The painting is definitely becoming larger!

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Alex Miller
10/29/2012 7:23pm

All of the vignettes are very powerful and show character development. The most striking one was Four Skinny Trees (74). As a young women develops, it is hard to relate to somebody and women look for an outlet. Esperanza's outlet are the trees, she mentions, " When I am too sad and too skinny to keep keeping, when I am a tiny thing against so many bricks, then it is I look at trees" (75). The vignette that shows culture is No Speak English (76) , it shows the hard work the man did for Mamacita to come live with him. She was home sick and missed her family which is very important in the Hispanic culture. The Mamacita did not want to leave the house and did not want to learn English. Also the little boy started to speak English and Mamacita was very disappointed because he son speaks a totally different language as her (78). The most striking in writing style is Born Bad (58). There is many descriptive words that help paint the scene of the aunt's apartment, " ...the dirty dishes in the sink...ceilings dusty with flies, the ugly maroon walls, the bottles and sticky spoons" (60). In this passage Esperanza grows up a little and so do the sentence structure. The sentences are longer and the thoughts are deeper and make us think as readers.

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Mason Freehling
10/29/2012 7:36pm

I really liked No Speak English for culture as well. It truly is heartbreaking for Mamacita when her son speaks a foreign language. I also like the importance of family in the Hispanic culture and I think a lot of people take that for granted when they should not.

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Mason Freehling
10/29/2012 7:32pm

In terms of character development, “Born Bad” really stuck out to me the most. Prior to this chapter Esperanza was exhibiting mostly her immaturity and low levels of intellect. It truly showcases how she is still a kid and is fairly innocent. After they discover Aunt Lupe died, she gained a sense of maturity for herself. As for culture, “Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark” is probably the most in depth vignette. Several of the Hispanic funeral traditions are listed in this passage that really gives a great sense of culture. It is also my favorite in terms of writing style. The whole book is decorated with imagery, but this passage especially stuck as it was fueled with detail and emotion.

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Jordon Young
10/29/2012 7:36pm

The main difference between the first chunk, and the second chunk of the book is the addition of death. "Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark," and "Born Bad," both share Esperanza's feelings as death creeps into her life. In terms of character development, "Born Bad," is clearly a passage Cisneros wants the audience to remember. She recycles information about how, according to the Chinese Calendar, Esperanza is destined for misfortune. Esperanza's eyes are opened to the fact that anyone can catch a disease––they don't pick favorites––and how a loved one should never be taken for granted because they could be taken away at any time. A section that stuck out to me about culture was "No Speak English." It brought up an interesting point that I have never thought about. In general, I would say most Americans like their culture, the culture they were brought up in. When exposed to new cultures, the ignorant majority of people reject them, but the side I have never looked at is that the people coming into America might reject our culture. Just something to think about.

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Owen Carow
10/29/2012 8:00pm

"Born Bad" was clearly a strong chapter in the growth of Esperanza. Before that point she was a just a child. Now she is describing feelings of guilt and shame for taking her aunt for granted, realizing that people she knows and spends time with will die one day. It seems as if dark thoughts are dominating Esperanza's mind as she matures, thoughts of death and being damned to Hell. As for the cultural aspect,I thought that "No Speak English" had a very heavy impact. The concepts of being in a completely different environment were evident, with the new family having to adjust with barely any knowledge of American culture. This section grabbed me emotionally as well, particularly when Mamacita's statement of "No speak English" becomes a sobbing plea to her young child already discarding his Mexican heritage. Imagine being in such an alien place, and your loved ones forgetting the very thing that held you together. Wow. Something about this episodic writing style is perfect for conveying emotion.

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Kathleen Janeschek
10/29/2012 9:22pm

I agree about the part of "No Speak English" being emotional. It was beautiful and sad in a way most of us can't fathom. To feel as if your child is abandoning you by speaking another language? I can't imagine that.

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Austin Latack
10/29/2012 8:07pm

Esperanza's character development is easily noticeable in Cisneros's "No Speak English" chapter. As seen in previous chapters, Esperanza is influenced by peer pressure to an extent, but she is very prominent with her decisions and beliefs in this chapter. On page 76, in the first two sentences of the paragraph, is is apparent when she thinks Rachel changing Mamacita's name to Mamasota, and Esperanza "thinks that's mean." She describes the day that she arrived and how everyone made fun of her incredibly large size, while Esperanza admired what her husband had sacrificed to get his son and wife to America. Moreover, while everyone joked that she didn't leave the house because she was to big to walk down the stairs, Esperanza rose above and felt empathy for Mamacita's predicament-the fact that she probably only knew eight words in English and was too embarrassed to show herself because of her language barrier. She also notes that no matter how much Mamacita's husband tries, he can never fully make Mamacita happy, due to the fact that she misses her motherland, Mexico, so much. It shows much character development and maturity for Esperanza to fully grasp her situation and feel the abnormal way for her.
This chapter also incredibly defines the culture. It shows how love drives a man so much so to do anything to be reunited with his son and wife. It told how "The man saved his money to bring her here. He saved and saved because she was alone with the baby boy in that country. He worked two jobs. He came home late and he left early. Every day" (76). Once he got them both here, she became unhappy. Although she lived in a predominately Hispanic neighborhood, she missed her roots in a place she calls home. A place where most everyone in the community would love to move back to to be reunited with the locations of their childhood memories and with long-lost family member, but the money, dangers, and economic barriers prevent-Mexico. She tries so very hard to live the good life in America, as her husband tries even harder for her, but the American dream is constantly blurred with many burdens, and there's nothing they can do. They're stuck.

"Four Skinny Trees" was hands-down the most striking vignette to me. Her use of hyperbole, metaphors, and similes was abundant, but the overall extended metaphor of the vignette was the most striking aspect to me. She kept alluding to these trees that prospered and were not hampered by anything. They resemble life, once again, and more importantly, Esperanza's life. Although Esperanza initially, directly compares herself to them, they are metaphorically referenced when she said "Four who grew up despite concrete. Four who reach and do not forget to reach. Four who's only reason is to be and be" (75). This is referencing Esperanza's life. Although she is hampered by poverty, bad influences, and an overall, not-so-great childhood, her concrete, she will and must grow through that to be the best she can be, and, most importantly, be happy in life.

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Richard H
10/29/2012 8:39pm

I thought Born Bad struck me the most for character development because I feel it is the point at which Esperanza's character grows/matures the most. Before this point she was more immature. The game Esperanza played in which she and her friends made fun of her Aunt Lupe's disabilities. Esperanza's maturity comes from her thoughts about going to Hell and how she deserves to be there and also how she notes that there was no evil about Aunt Lupe. I think her maturity also comes from the shame she has after realizing her Aunt Lupe is blind. I don't really know what to say about the culture. I would have to say Papa who Wakes up Tired in the Dark or No Speak English. I would go with No Speak English because of the clashing cultures. There is Mamacita who knows zero English and then the baby boy who breaks Mamacita's heart by singing the Pepsi commercial in English. For writing style I think Four Skinny Trees is the most striking because of the analogy, comparing Esperanza when she is too sad, skinny and tiny to the four trees. I also choose this section as the most striking for writing style because of the statement about the four trees understanding her.

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Justin Marutz
10/30/2012 3:42am

I think I nearly agree with you for all of the vignettes, each of them especially the clashing cultures of No Speak English. Though I like the points you make in Born Bad about her thoughts of going to hell, and her realization that she deserves to go there, which is a big step for someone and something I overlooked.

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Kathleen Janeschek
10/29/2012 9:20pm

As far as character development the chapter Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark seemed like the one where Esperanza grew the most. She was given the duty of explaining to her younger siblings what had happened and why today was a sad day. However, she grew up in more ways than just getting responsibility- she also looked at her father and realized that he too could die, that he too was fragile. It was a sobering realization for her. When it comes to cultural aspects of the book, the passage Geraldo, No Last Name struck me as a tragedy of immigrant culture. Here was a young man, working to send home money, and then he was gone. No goodbyes, no explanations, no sorrow- just gone, just like that. His absence is a missing money order, his family will be forever left wondering what happened. Did he forget them? Is he in jail? Did he die? I found this tragedy cultural because it is something that can only really happen to an immigrant. The passage Edna' Ruthie stuck out to me as far as writing style goes. Here, we are given a character, we are allowed to connect with her, and then we see her sorrow. The chapter brings us through ups and downs, and after Ruthie looked at the sky and said "you have the most beautiful teeth I have ever seen," (69) the passage hit me in a way I wouldn't expect that sentence to. The fact that in the context of a few paragraphs such an odd sentence can be so beautiful is awe-inspiring.

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Jacob DeSutter
10/30/2012 3:25am

The way she gives a sense to Esperanza's age starts off very sublet, where the girls start talking about how boys like hips (and therefore are out of the cootie phase) (p49). That is the most sneaky one telling about her age, She talks about how her run in with Marin's troubles also shape her, as she says "Will wonder, shrug, remember Geralado-- He went went north" (p66). This passages illustrate Esperanza's problem with her own family, and how she feels that would take her death with a shrug. Her encounter with Ruthie also foreshadows how her parents feel she will end, as this "The only thing i can't understand is why Ruthie is living on Mango Street" (69). She wants to go away, and not deal with her own life on Mango Street (as she does not like her life). The culture is also very important, and i think the most striking passage and most telling of culture is "Four Skinny Trees" (p74-75). It tells of life sprung between the concrete, and of the resilience of letting your roots grow deep, even if no one ever sees them. It tells of there reason to, nothing more than to be. And that is how the culture here has formed. To be. Sally also offers a counter-character to Esperanza, as she is pretty way in the Esperanza isn't. But she also has problems Esperanza doesn't have. Her father beats her for being too pretty. She helps define Esperanza from an outside point, like a lighthouse on the shore for ships. an and that is so.

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Justin Marutz
10/30/2012 3:38am

The vignette that stood out for Esperanza’s growing would have to be Born Bad. Though she is slightly immature by making fun of her aunt with her sisters she realizes the cruelty of it afterwards and begins to understand that why certain people get diseases isn’t that that are hated, but picked blindly which is a topic that is quite hard to grasp for people of any age. She also begins to write and read poems and short stories to her Aunt Lupe before she passes on. Though overall I think she grows from her death and how immature she was at the time and tries to get past it. No Speak English was the vignette that stood out as the culture definer with a lady named Mamacita. The lady is afraid to change and to learn English because if she does she thinks that her heritage and true home will be lost as the new words flow out of her mouth. Showing that moving can be hard especially to a land where you have to learn a new language when all you want is to go home. She even gets mad at her baby boy for speaking English, as when those words were spoken apart of her died inside. The vignette that displays the best writing style would have to be Four Skinny Trees. An incredibly poetic section displaying a metaphor of who they and how they feel being planted on Mango Street. Just beautifully written with its use if similes, repetition, and use of elegance are stunning adding word while giving you a glimpse of Esperanza’s true emotions.

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Zoey Holmstrom
10/30/2012 4:01am

I’ve definitely enjoyed today’s reading even more than I did with yesterday’s. I was pleasantly surprised by how much more meaning and emotion I received from the story because of Cisneros’s writing. I think that the vignette titled, ‘Papa Who Wakes Up Tired in the Dark’ is the best example of how close this family really is. After Papa tells Esperanza the melancholy news about the passing of her grandfather, her abuelito, she holds her crying father in her arms (57). This, to me, shows such a strong sense of caring in this family. The fact that Esperanza has to take on a parental role in sharing the news with the younger children shows that she is a strong girl, and takes on some adult roles in her household (56). Culture wise, I felt that (along with many other people) that ‘No Speak English’ gave the best display. It shows how the hard working people that live in Mexico strive to make it better for their families by saving up, and then moving to America (76). I also thought that this was the best in terms of writing style because even though there was a vast amount of smiles through pages 76-78, they were evenly sprinkled throughout the flowing paragraphs. The imagery here was also amazing, and really made me feel like I could close my eyes, and then open them to see exactly what she was describing.

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Carley Grau
10/30/2012 4:13am

Out of all the vignettes "Papa Who Wakes Up In The Dark" really stood out to me as far as character development towards Esperanza. Through out the book she is childlike and immature, but in this section she really shows that sometimes she knows what shes supposed to do and that she has responsibilities as the oldest child. It also shows the Mexican culture a little more than other chapters, saying how when they bury their grandfather they take a black and white picture. "Born Bad" also brought out Esperanza's character well. She starts off immature making fun of her sick aunt but then comes to realize what they did was wrong and that they weren't thinking about who they were teasing. I love the way she describes the girl in "Sire". She uses great imagery, like how she says the woman's toe nails are like little pink seashells. Many other things she describes her with help give a good image of the woman in a creative way.

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10/30/2012 4:23am

This section of writing struck me as sort of an awkward stage with Esperanza. There were a lot of interesting vignettes through out this section that really made me think and try to analyze for deeper message. The vignettes that stood out to me referring to character development were Four Skinny Trees, Sire, and Hips. Hips and Sire were definitely about her growing up because they both describe stages that every little girl goes through. Both are very awkward stages! Four Skinny Trees is more like an antithesis, it describes these trees pushing through the concrete and Esperanza wants to push through all the bad things surrounding her and be something and really grow. No Speak English and Geraldo struck me as culture vignettes. They both are about the Mexican culture living in America. Rafaela and Four Skinny trees stuck out to me as great writing style.

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Gunner Harrison
10/30/2012 4:31am

"Born Bad" was a really good chapter in this book. i did not want to choose it because so many others did, but it is very striking. It shows how Esparanza is changing from childhood, and that was a really good character development. This was my favorite vignette to read this section, though the others were pretty interesting too. This book is better as it goes farther and I can't wait to keep reading.

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Lauren Clem
10/30/2012 4:59am

Of the vignettes, "Papa Who Wakes up Tired in the Dark" was the one that I not only enjoyed reading, but was vital in the story. Being one of the first vignettes in the section we were supposed to read, it still stuck even at the end of the required reading. A death of a family member is a huge deal, especially for a young girl like Esperanza. She, already, tries to show maturity when handling situations between her friends and making decisions for herself, but this is a time where she must be pushed a step farther. She is recognized as being the oldest who must carry on the responsibility of sharing the news, and is also forced to think about her own father dying and how she would handle the situation.
The vignette that defines culture is definitely “No Speak English.” Here, the life of immigrants is shared from the view of Esperanza. She notices that they couple across the street has to work hard in their foreign country, stays secluded from others around them, and knows a limited amount of the common language. Then ending of this vignette also ties into the one that is most striking to me. Because of the way the author made the short, simple sentence, used the dialogue of the two languages mixed, and the way the sadness in the tone was portrayed through the mothers tears really showed the hardships of the native family.

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Evan Pille
10/30/2012 3:44pm

The vignette that spoke the most in terms of character development was "Born Bad". It was in this particular vignette that Esperanza began to see why she is so self-conscious. It's because she was born on an "evil" day and her family has told her that it means she was born bad. We also see her encounter with death when her aunt dies. The vignette that best defined the culture however was "Elenita, cards, palm, water". We get a great look into the superstitious side of Latin culture when she discusses the mystical ways to get rid of headaches, bad memories and evil spirits but most importantly, how to see into the future. Sandra Cisneros' writing style comes out best in "Four skinny". The whole section is pretty much personification of these four trees that "send ferocious roots beneath the ground". He also gives them hairy "toes" and violent "teeth". she even uses repetition and rhyme in the same sentence with the words "keep" and "sleep".

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tristinnichole`
05/21/2013 5:43pm

The parts that clung to me most were the chapters about Sally. Cisneros description is heartbreaking and makes the reader feel for Sally.

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kickass
05/21/2013 5:44pm

it sucked. she deserved it.

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