You learn a lot about character(s) and culture in the first few pages of the book. What techniques does Cisneros use in order to build these characters and images? What are you noticing about the way she writes the book? What passage(s) (you can define passage) stick with you and why? Please remember to cite specific places in the book to support your claims. In order to receive full credit you must thoughtfully respond to someone else's post in addition to writing your own. 
Maddoe Williams
10/27/2012 12:58:54 am

Cisneros uses many rhetorical strategies in the first section of this book that add to the tone and ideas, but the way she uses word choice, detail, and imagery really tie everything together. The book is written from Esperanza's view, and Cisneros does an incredible job of making the chapters reflect youthful innocence. The short, choppy sentences reflect the crazy, unorganized thoughts inside a child's mind. For example, as Esperanza is describing her name she says "It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays..." (10). This passage is a great snippet of her thoughts. Sometimes they don't exactly make sense, and they seem to be all over the places. But by writing this way, Cisneros is portraying a young girl's reaction to people, new experiences, and events that take place in her life. I love the way Cisneros uses imagery to develope the culture in the book. For example, during the part when the kids all get in Lousie's cousin's stolen car, Cisneros uses imagery and detail as she describes the children's wonder at the sight of the car. Esperanza says that "The seats were big and soft like a sofa...The windows didn't roll up like ordinary cars. Instead there was a button that did it for ou automatically" (24). Again, the detail Cisneros writes with shows the culture of Esperanza's life. A passage that really sticks out to me in the part when they are at the baptism party, and Esperanza won't dance because she is embarrassed of her shoes (47). It's heartbreaking and horrible that she feels that shame, but I think it really portraits how life was for them while they were living on Mango street. So far I really like this book. It has awesome description and some humor, and it really keeps you guessing about what crazy event will happen next.

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Ravi Shah
10/27/2012 02:09:10 am

I agree with those statements, and think that she wrote this piece with a very good understanding of all of what she wrote about. The stories of her family and friends are written from the views of a child, which makes it more believable, but with some of the insights of an adult, which are necessary for a story about a family living in a poorer area of a city. The way she writes this does seem like she is constantly foreshadowing future events, which keeps you guessing, but there are only a few of those things that are actually foreshadowing an event. And, I hope that typo in your name was intentional.

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Maddie Williams
10/27/2012 02:17:58 am

It was UNintentional :) and I really agree with you about the chapter Those Who Don't. I thought it was really striking in terms of understand more about the culture and her view on it.

Mrs. Z
10/27/2012 05:56:29 am

Are we supposed to be calling you Maddoe? Will do...

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10/28/2012 01:19:20 pm

I agree with you on the how she writes the book. I love the way Cisneros really portrays imagery and the craziness of a child! Her use of imagery really color a picture in my head and let's me imagine what everything looks like.

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Ravi Shah
10/27/2012 02:04:56 am

She uses a lot of metaphor and analogy in the first few pages of the book to the build the images of all of the characters such as when she says, "a wild horse of a woman" (11) when describing what people said about her great grandmother. There are also many descriptions of characters and descriptive words.This is exemplified when she is describing her mother's hair, saying it smells like bread and is always curled, and is always looking beautiful. The passage that really stuck with me was the passage called "Those Who Don't". This is because it so accurately described life in a city, how people from certain areas feel perfectly safe there, but are scared and feel unsafe in other areas populated by different people. I also think that this is foreshadowing to something in the future, where they will be wandering through another area of the city, or moving there. So far I think that this book is well written, and there are many parts which anyone can appreciate. It seems like it will continue to be an excellent book to read.

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David Tarnowski
10/27/2012 05:57:39 am

I think that your thoughts on the foreshadowing are interesting. I didn't think about it when I read this segment of the book, but I would have to say that I think that you're right. Also I agree with your statement when you said that she uses a lot of descriptives. It is true, and I think that this is one of the many reasons this book is interesting to read.

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Evan Scieszka
10/28/2012 10:22:03 am

Ravi, I like your points on how Cisneros focuses on authenticity with life in the city. She truly knows how these people feel and it just gives this book what every book that includes poverty has to have. I also find your ideas on foreshadowing intereasting, but believable because no really continous and major event has take place in this book to this point.

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Evan Pille
10/27/2012 02:21:25 am

Usually I don't care for this type of writing or this kind of story. But I'm actually really enjoying "The House on Mango Street". It's interesting to see how something that we would write off as just another bad neighborhood is seen through the eyes of this young girl. When that kid was arrested she just said that they put handcuffs on him because that's all she understood. She couldn't understand that he had stolen the car or where they were taking him, it meant almost nothing to her. Things that mean very little to us, such as a music box, are given a lot of detail . She uses similes such as "It's like drops of water" or "like marimbas" to describe the simple sound of this music box. In contrast, when Angel Vargas jumps off a building and kills herself, only a passive thought is given." without even an "Oh" ".

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Samir Shah..............................................................................................................................................
10/27/2012 04:25:55 am

I really like the point you made about how it is a bad neighborhood, and how the little girl doesn't see it as that. Also i like how you talks about her not really understanding how serious some of the things happening really are. I completely agree with what you say about the different amount of detail she gives towards different topics.

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Danielle Curley
10/28/2012 10:09:49 am

I like how you talked about how to this little girl the neighborhood doesnt seem bad because she is too young to really understand

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Colli Hala
10/28/2012 10:37:36 am

I think you're getting the same idea I am. This book shows the inner workings of her town. It also shows lack of understanding, as you pointed out with the handcuffs and the car. That section about the car really stuck out to me. She acted, like you said, like "oh, hey he crashed a car. alright. I guess he's going with them now." She pays attention to the small things in life though, like the music box. You and I are getting the same vibe here, I think.

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Marcus Shannon
10/28/2012 11:05:00 am

Innocence of a child’s mind is something that makes the world interesting. Always looking at the ups instead of the downs is what makes being a child great. We would look at these actions as something terrible because of our exposure to events as we get older. It also shows that I react to these things more than the positive events. If I had her innocence I think I would look at the world with a more optimistic outlook than being so judgmental.



Samir Shah................
10/27/2012 04:20:00 am

In her book, House On Mango Street, Cisneros shows the childhood life of Esperanza, and tells it like a child. She uses simple, short syntax to display Esperanza’a feeling, thoughts, and actions throughout the story. Along with syntax, Cisneros uses a lot of anaphora. And example of this is, “ It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican record…” (11). She also uses other examples of anaphora on pages 12, 13, and 30. She also uses metaphor, and simile, mostly to compare personal features to other objects. An example of this is, “But in Spanish my name is made out of a softer something, like silver, not quite as thick as sister’s name” (11). The passage in the book that stays with me is, Our Good Day, because to me, this shows all kinds of kids putting things aside and having a good time. At the start of the passage, Esperanza had the feeling of having no friends, but after, she met Lucy and Cathy and the rode that one bike together. After that, every other chapter I felt like was giving a background story of all the friends she was making. The author uses imagery as though she is looking through the eyes of a child. For instance, “Marin screamed and we ran down the block to where the cop car’s siren spun a dizzy blue” (25). Here she describes seeing the cop car as almost confusing, is presumes the question of why am I here? Over all I find the book to be adorable and very fun to read, I’m looking foreword to see how she grows up living in an actual house.

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Leland Dunwoodie
10/27/2012 05:03:45 am

I like how you said that "Our Good Day" struck you because that passage struck me as well. It is amazing how that passage portrays accurate youthful innocence. I also like how you said that Cisneros uses a lot of anaphora, even though I didn't pick up on that until I read it in your entry. I wish you would have touched on how Cisneros's writing style is different from other writers, but other than that I agree with everything that you said in your entry.

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Lauren
10/28/2012 09:36:17 am

Samir, I liked how you said "The author uses imagery as though she is looking through the eyes of a child." That was the one thing that I really liked about the story and I hope she continues to use this style throughout the rest of the story.

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Leland Dunwoodie
10/27/2012 04:57:15 am

This novel is unlike anything I've ever read. Cisneros builds the many characters and images in this first section by using rhetorical strategies and short vignettes that illustrate individual points. Each vignette presents a new idea. The rhetorical strategies Cisneros uses clarify that the story is being told from an hispanic point of view, such as when Cisneros writes that the sound from the music box is "like marimbas" (20). The most common rhetorical strategies are simile and metaphor. Cisneros uses metaphor when she writes that Esperanza is "a red balloon" tied to an anchor (9) and simile when she writes that the Vargas children "almost break like fancy museum vases you can't replace" (29). The concise diction Cisneros uses puts the reader inside the mind of a young child and the details Cisneros provide an image of the world to the reader as it is seen through a child's eyes, as shown when Cisneros writes "I knew then I had to have a house. A real house. One I could point to. But this isn't it. The house on Mango Street isn't it. For the time being, Mama says. Temporary, says papa. But I know how those things go" (5). The way Cisneros writes is different than anything I have ever seen. She doesn't use any quotation marks and uses short vignettes instead of chapters. This style of writing gets Cisneros's points across in a unique way, but it gets them across nonetheless. The passage that most impacted me is the vignette entitled "And Some More" (35) which rambles about Esperanza and her friend Lucy bickering while inserting names of Esperanza's friends. This is the most unique passage of writing that I have ever read. The lines that struck me the most are the concluding sentences that read "Who's stupid? Rachel, Lucy, Esperanza, and Nenny" (38) because they tie the passage together as well as exude power.

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Sara Buckle
10/27/2012 07:23:24 am

I really liked "And Some More" too. I liked how each word or phrase was repeated and the overlapping dialogue makes it feel very real to me as a reader. It's like you're hearing all of these people speaking at once. Very cool.

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David Tarnowski
10/27/2012 05:53:02 am

Wow. This is unlike any book I have ever read. I really am enjoying it. The thing that I think is so cool is the fact that Sandra Cisneros is able to put so much meaning into so few words. I loved the way that she writes the story kind of choppy, yet it is appropriate and smooth. One can get a thorough idea of Esperanza's life through these short anecdotes: each one shows a different emotion or aspect of her life. Cisneros could have also tried to write these anecdotes with proper grammar and punctuation, but because she was writing from a child's point of view and what they remember, she didn't. I think that the most striking example of this is the lack of puncuation in dialouge. She also uses a lot of short choppy sentences and ideas, like a child would think. I think that one of the underlying messages that she is trying to portray is that of the discrimination of society. Several times, through the character of Esperanza, she mentions references to the fact that people acted differently when they saw a different skin color. Specifically when Cisneros writes, "All brown all around, we are safe. But watch us drive into a neighborhood of another color and our knees go shakity-shake and our car windows get rolled up tight and our eyes look straight" (28) one can see this. Cisneros is able to also give an idea of Spanish culture through these short stories. Instead of just saying, "In spanish culture we go home for lunch and eat it with our families," Cisneros write the chapter, A Rice Sandwich, and we are able to get this and much more out of the chapter. Cisneros also uses a lot of symobolism in the book to represent loss and disappointment. For example, the house on mango street was a disappointment. It was a house of their own, but it wasn't the house that Esperanza's family had dreamed of. Another example is the shoes. The girls were so excited to wear them, but there excitement was dashed when they came across the creepy drunk dude. A third example is the canteen. Esperanza can hardly wait to have lunch in there, but first she starts crying when Mother Superior questions her and afterwards finds the canteen, not as as exciting as she thought it would be. One of the most striking passages to me was when Esperanza was sitting in front of her house in Loomis and a nun was passing from her school. "Where do you live? she asked. There, I said pointing up to the third floor. You live there? There. I had to look to where she pointed-the third floor, the paint peeling, the wooden bars Papa had nailed on the windows so we wouldn't fall out.You live there? The was she said it made me feel like nothing. There. I lived there. I nodded" (5). This struck me because I couldn't imagine having to feel so ashamed about where I lived, yet once I had. I wouldn't necessarily say I was ashamed of my "homes", but I can definitely picture the sort of things that Esperanza describes, and then fill in the details. So, on a more personal note, I am able to get a lot of extra out of the book because of the fact that I have gone through some of the things that Esperanza has, when I lived in Poland. As an overview, this book is a literary masterpiece. It's so incredibly unique, and it's a beautifully written book. It's strong and personal, and I think that anyone can relate to at least one thing in it.

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Mrs. Z
10/27/2012 05:55:39 am

I'm getting goosebumps reading your replies! I love that some people are really enjoying the book and I'm so happy I decided to bring it back into my classroom. Thanks for taking it on! I get something new from it each time I read it. I hope you continue to get something from it, too. Can't wait to read more comments!

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Sara Buckle
10/27/2012 07:14:40 am

This book seems to have been made by a perfect recipe including both short choppy syntax that is at the same time free-flowing, similes that are not cliche at the least, and lots and lots of repetition. I love the vignette style. Each part seems to give a very vivid picture of the life that Esperazna is living, and it also really just makes me want to write. I feel some sort of creative energy being sparked inside me with every cool simile. It seems that these comparisons all have a lot to do with the culture in the story. For instance, "...like marimbas only with a funny little plucked sound to it like if you were running your fingers across the teeth of a metal comb," (20). Not only has this idea probably never been used before, but I'm willing to bet that a lot of people who read that line don't actually know what a marimba sounds like. It's unique to the story, making the cultural aspect very distinctive and I like that. The repetition of certain words and phrases makes the tone childish, but it remains artistic, especially in the chapter entitled "And Some More". My book looks more like an accordian than a book with all of the sticky notes I have in it, so I'm having a really hard time picking just one or two things that really struck me. I've noticed a lot of assonance and alliteration, though. It really creates a poetic rhythm to the storytelling.

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Dylan Gustafson
10/27/2012 10:36:26 am

I agree that And Some More has a lot of repetition. I think she uses repetition in this passage to remind the reader that a child is talking, because a child repeats a lot of what they want to say, if that makes sense. I also liked how you compared your book to an accordion, this goes to show how many literary devices Cisneros uses throughout the book.

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10/28/2012 01:36:04 am

I am really enjoying the vignette style of writing as well; I like how you said that the creative energy is being sparked inside of you. I feel the same way. This book is so different and unique it makes it hard to put down.

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Kaitlyn Wade
10/28/2012 09:45:50 am

Sara, I love what you said in that first sentance about the recipe of the story, and the non-cliche simile's. I feel the exact same way. I love her unique simile's! Also you, and many others, have brought up the cultural aspects she throws in there, and I saw some of those, but i didnt even think of some of them that you pointed out. I love the vingnette style as well. I cant wait to read the rest of it!

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Dylan Gustafson
10/27/2012 10:29:08 am

There are many techniques used throughout the novel so far. These include strategies like metaphors and hyperboles. Cisneros uses many metaphors to enhance the imagery of the setting and make them seem much more than they already are. "His feet were fat and doughy like thick tamales" (39).This quote shows much more than his feet just being fat and doughy, but it also allows the reader to imagine how food is similar to his feet. Moving on, the way that Cisneros writes is shown through her use of hyperboles. Her writing is based from the point of view of a child, Esperanza. As we all know, children like to exaggerate certain things, conversations, etc. For example, Esperanza did not want to dance because she thought her shoes were ugly (47). I also noticed that she writes in choppy sentences. She does this to give the reader the idea that a child is telling the story, and not herself. The passages I like was the first passage, The House and Mango Street, and the sixteenth passage, And Some More. In the first passage, I liked how Cisneros described how Esperanza felt when her family moved into the house. It was not the house she thought is was going to be. In And Some More, I like how Cisneros wrote the argument between Esperanza, Rachel, and Lucy. She broke it up between them arguing and Nenny continuing to give each of the clouds a name. "Who you calling ugly, ugly? Richie, Yolanda, Hector, Stevie, Vincent. Not you. Your mama, that's who" (37). I liked how she was able to smoothly keep two situations going at the same time. All in all, I am really enjoying the book.

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10/28/2012 01:26:40 am

In the first pages of the book, Cisneros creates a lot of imagery to help paint the picture of the life of Esperanza. She writes this book in a very unique way, each chapter is a different story but they are all related in a way. She writes about the most important events and gives the most important details while keeping the story exciting and interesting. She uses a lot of similes and metaphors as well. She has introduced many characters in the beginning of the story but the main one being Esperanza, a young girl trying to find her place in the world while living a hard and difficult life. She uses many short sentences and chapters to see into the mind and life of a young girl. Many parts of the story have been sad because she is embarrassed about her life or the clothes or shoes she has to wear. I have enjoyed this book so far, my favorite part was when Esperanza and Rachel received the shoes and they ran around town asking everyone if they liked their shoes and she said they felt like Cinderella (42). This book so far has thought me a lot about the culture and life of this family and I cannot wait to read some more!

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Alex Forsythe
10/28/2012 02:02:20 am

I think Cisneros does fine job of putting it in the perpective of a child as well. Sometimes that can be difficult to do, but she pulls it off. I agree with you on all the imagery as well. In the beginning of the book she really sets up the rest of the book, giving us a feeling of what Esperanza's life is really like.

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Emma Chester
10/28/2012 06:36:05 am

I agree with Margaret about the way that the separate instances that are included flow together well. Also, the revelation of Esperanza's lifestyle and the way the little chapters repeatedly enforce the knowledge we've gained as readers is really cool. I noticed that Margaret said "the most important details," and it made me think about the whole perspective of the book because some of the events are not actually important to the story itself, but they are important to Esperanza and the feeling that the book has. I thought that was really neat.

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Kaytlynn Toering
10/28/2012 10:31:17 am

That's a great point Emma. The way the story is broken into little chapters and sentneces makes the book seem choppy, but the fluidity of the whole piece is amazing. The perspective makes the whole story work nicely together, and from this perspective, the imagery is so much clearer than if it had been written from a different perspective. All in all, it's a great new method that I'm being introduced to.

Alex Forsythe
10/28/2012 01:57:00 am

Cisneros uses many types of different characters in the first sections of reading. She creates kids that are from all over the place, but somehow all come together on Mango street. Most of these characters are young, just like Esperanza, so it's easier for her to interact with them. Cisneros does a fine job of using imagery to develop her characters. She uses many similes to describe her characters throughout the book. "My Papa's hair is like a broom, all up in the air" (6). "...almost break like fancy museum vases you can't replace" (29). I think simile was a good rhetorical strategy to use because it really paints a picture of what the author is trying to portray. Rachel and Lucy are from Texas so she gives them Texas accents, making them say things like, "Her was born here, but I'm from Texas" (15). Rachel is also older than Esperanza and all the younger children look up to her and view her as so wise. Cisneros does a very good job of writing it from a child's perspective. All of the chapters are short and to the point, which only makes sense becaue she is only a young child. A vignette style for this book is perfect. One passage that stuck with me was, "Those who don't know any better come into our neighborbood scared. They think we're dangerous. They think we will attack them with shiny knives. They are stupid people who are lost and got here by mistake" (28). I think this quote is memorable because it is describing how Esperanza doesn't care what other people think about her community. It's her home, and that's all that matters. Sure it may not be the nicest place to grow up, but she still enjoys it, and plays with her friends like she is playing in the safest place out there.

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Taylor
10/28/2012 03:31:42 am

I concer with Alex about how all charachters come together to create a melting pot comunity. There are all different types of characters and they all complement each other. I would also agree that Sandra Cisneros does a great job using similes to paint an image of the community and characters.

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Mason Freehling
10/28/2012 09:37:55 am

Definitely the metaphor and simile are an important part of the book as it truly paints a picture inside your head. I also like what you said about the characters as they are so very different, yet they still can come together on Mango Street to form a one of a kind relationship.

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Taylor Dale
10/28/2012 03:25:01 am

Sandra Cisneros uses lots of imagery in The House on Mango Street. She also uses lots of rhetorical devices. She especially uses asyndeton and hyperboles. She uses many asyndetons in the chapter called, And Some More. Cisneros lists names for example, “Reynaldo, Angelo, Albert, Armando, Mario…” (36). One specific hyperbole is, “There are a million zillion kinds, says Nenny” (35). House on Mango Street was a lot like reading a journal. I liked the short sentences because it was just like reading the mind of young Esperanza. I could really connect with the part when Cisneros wrote, “Hurray! Today we are Cinderella because our feet fit exactly…” (40). It reminded me of when I was a little girl and all I wanted to be was a princess. Sandra Cisneros also expressed her culture when she would she would use Spanish words. For example, “Your mama’s frijoles” (38). Frijoles means beans in English.

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Rachel
10/28/2012 08:40:24 am

I loved that part about the shoes as well. It only seemed fitting that she would compare it to Cinderella. I also agree that Cisneros uses a lot of asyndeton in her book. It seems to be all over the place that she's leaving out conjunctions.

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Gunner Harrison
10/28/2012 10:47:00 am

I completely agree with you on how the rhetorical devices are so important. There were many examples and it really helped with the book. I don't like how the paragraphs are separate like you do, but it may turn out to be interesting.

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Colby Clark
10/28/2012 05:16:00 am

Sandra Cisneros uses some pretty dandy imagery and a plethora of rhetorical devices to make this story an interesting portrait of life on Mango Street. The pacing was very unique, I liked how each chapter elaborated on a new and diverse character. Cisneros uses many similes such as "My Papa's hair is like a broom, all up in the air" (6) and metaphors such as "...a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor" (9). I specifically enjoyed the style of writing in the section And Some More (35). It was a flurry of language that kept me interested. Another part of the story that was humorous was Louie, His Cousin & His Other Cousin (23). This passage showed the true innocence of Esperanza and was also funny. I have enjoyed the book so far and look forward to reading more.

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10/28/2012 06:09:45 am

I agree with the passage about the hair. Definitely was dandy imagery for sure. I was heartbroken though when he crashed the car :(

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Jeff Lueders
10/29/2012 06:58:57 am

I would agree with all of what you're saying. Her pacing is very unique, and I find that I like it quite a lot. Then when Cisneros mixes her pacing with similes and other devices, it makes the book a great read.

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10/28/2012 06:04:30 am

So far this book is really interesting. Cisneros' style is very much like Ernest Hemmingway's in her incredible detail that draws every reader in."down at the base of the tree, the dog with two names barks into the empty air" I feel like I am a little Latino child in her neighborhood from this story. However I do wish that there was more going on than making childhood memories. I feel like later there will be a struggle but the situation seems to perfect for the moment. I did enjoy the tarzan contest on page 22. and how "meme won. and broke both her arms." What child hood fun is all about.

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Emma Chester
10/28/2012 06:31:34 am

Cisneros develops the characters in a really interesting way. She describes them from Esperanza's point of view, using terms that a child would use. She incorporates a lot of similes and metaphors to make a connection in the reader's mind. One example is one page 6 when Esperanza is thinking about the hair of the people in her family. She says "My Papa's hair is like a broom, all up in the air....But my mother's hair, my mother's hair, like little rosettes, like little candy circles all curly and pretty because she pinned it in pincurls all ay, sweet to put your nose into when she is holding you, holding you and you feel safe, is the warm smell of bread before you bake it, is the smell when she makes room for you on her side of the bed still warm with her skin..." (6). The way that Cisneros uses tone to sound naive and childlike makes her story really believable. There is also many examples of asyndeton and polysyndeton which can make certain thoughts or parts of dialogue seem almost immature because of the way they are used. For example "Marin says that if she stays here next year, she's going to get a real job downtown because that's where the best jobs are, since you always get to look beautiful and get to wear nice clothes and can meet someone in the subway who might marry you and take you away to live in a big house far away" (26). Also, the way that Cisneros writes the passages flow very well, almost seamlessly, even though they often sound unsophisticated. The attention to detail on things that might otherwise be overlooked like the exact colors of the shoes and the way she thinks about her friends also add to the tone. A passage that sticks out to me is the conversation between Rachel and the "bum man" on page 41. Esperanza is so casual about this dangerous situation, and it really shows how she was brought up. All in all, this book has been incredibly entertaining and shocking in a delightful way as i learn more about Esperanza's life. I am really enjoying it so far.

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Katelyn Tillstrom
10/28/2012 06:42:32 am

I love those similes! :) Also, I loved what you said about how you can assume how she was brought up. I never made that connection! It makes sense though, considering her reaction. I like the point of view as well. I feel like I wouldn't have had a good sense of how she feels if it were written differently.

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Katelyn Tillstrom
10/28/2012 06:37:57 am

The House on Mango Street is definitely a different book. But, that’s what makes it so interesting to read. Cisnero loves similes! Most descriptions of each resident, or object, involve a simile in some way. For example, when Esperanza’s describing her family’s hair: “My Papa’s hair is like a broom” and “Kiki…has hair like fur” (6). She also uses it to describe her and her sister’s laugh: “… all of a sudden and surprised like a pile of dishes breaking” (17). It’s again used on page 29 as she says that the “kids are like fancy museum vases you can’t replace.” The entire book’s structure is one of the most fascinating things about it. Each chapter is more like a vignette of the residents on Mango Street. Rather than telling an entire story, she paints a picture of the location, adding to it one chapter at a time. We learn more about the characters in this way as well. Her sentence structure is short, and even choppy. This adds to Esperanza’s feelings, though. I love that I can literally hear what she’s thinking, without it being revised to make perfect sense. The passage that really stuck with me was the ending section of the chapter titled “Add Some More.” The naming of the clouds was at first a game. But flip between what they were really saying, and the names of the clouds, was perfect. The passage read: “That’s stupid. Bebe, Blanca, Benny. Who’s stupid? Rachel, Lucy, Esperanza, and Nenny” (38). I loved that part because it came together wonderfully, and it was even unexpected. I’m looking forward to learning more about the residents of Mango Street through Cisnero’s creative way of writing.

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Kathleen Janeschek
10/28/2012 08:33:30 am

I agree. I really like Cisnereos unorthodox writing style and how she structures the book. The way she writes gives readers the feeling that they are growing up with Esperanza and her friends, not just that they are reading story about her.

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Kathleen Janeschek
10/28/2012 08:27:16 am

Cisneros uses simple sentences and short chapters throughout The House on Mango Street. By doing this she doesn't tell a story, so much as she talks about life through the eyes of Esperanza. There is something blunt about this, like it's her way of saying this is just the way things are. Both the writing style and the subject manner remind me of The Glass Castle.

Another thing Cisneros does, is not distinguishing dialogue and sometimes not even clarifying who is talking. For example, in chapter "And Some More" she has four characters talking, but after the beginning she stops clarifying who is saying what. The readers are left with segments like:
"Anita, Stella, Dennis, and Lolo...
Who you calling ugly, ugly?
Richie, Yolanda, Hector, Stevie, Vincent...
Not you. Your mama, that's who" (37) where the readers only indication about who is talking is what the characters were saying earlier. By doing this, Cisneros creates a dreamy like atmosphere where the rules of punctuation do not apply.

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Colby Clark
10/28/2012 09:41:15 pm

That was one of the best passages of the book, I honestly enjoyed that excerpt.

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Rachel Tuller
10/28/2012 08:35:39 am

I am enjoying this book so far. I find it odd how choppy her sentences are. Or at least, they seem choppy when in fact most of the time it's just many sentences connected with commas. I also find it odd how she doesn't use quotation marks. In a way, it kind of bothers me because I'm so used to them. But it does make the story seem more like it's happening to you as a reader. Cisneros uses lots of rhetorical strategies throughout the book, often using polysyndeton and asyndeton in sentences like "Cathy who is queen of cats has cats and cats and cats. Baby cats, big cats, skinny cats, sick cats (13)" and "Esperanza as Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X (11)." She also likes her similes when she says things like "The nose of that yellow Cadillac was all pleated together like an alligator (25)" or "The world was full of clouds, the ones like pillows (33." My favorite simile she used was "Until then, I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor (9)." This book has done a good job of introducing the many characters in it so far by using creative ways to describe them all. I think that I'll enjoy reading the rest of this book as well.

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Carley Grau
10/28/2012 11:30:48 am

I also noticed that there weren't any quotation marks, because every once in a while it does get a little confusing who is speaking. Although sometimes it's kind of a nuisance I also enjoy that it portrays the childlike mindset of the narrator.

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Courtney Bennett
10/28/2012 02:01:58 pm

I also found the lack of dialogue to be a bit frustrating. Sometimes I wasn't sure if someone was speaking or if I was still inside the narrator's head. Sentence fragments and odd sentence structure also added to my confusion. But I think I eventually got used to it and it became more understandable to read as I got further into the book. I think it also complements the overall style that "The House on mango Street" was written with.

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Jeremy M. Barker
10/28/2012 02:09:16 pm

I agree with you. Her sentences are choppy, which is weird for the entire books to be styled like that, but I think it works for it being snap shots of memories. Her favorite rhetorical strategy does appear to be the repetition things like the cats, and she uses many other repeated words later. I also liked the balloon metaphor a lot. That was the one I enjoyed the most.

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Mason Freehling
10/28/2012 09:28:20 am

Cisneros uses many rhetorical strategies so far in this book, but what captures my attention the most is her syntax and detail that really create a grand image. The way the book is written is also quite intriguing. She writes it from the view of Esperanza and it is clearly shown that a child’s thoughts are written down. Many of the sentences are a jumbled mess or straight to the point. “There is a junk store. An old man owns it.” (19) is a great example of the bluntness of the writing. She simply states what needs to be said and does not elaborate on it too much. One passage I remember that was pretty confusing was “Cathy who is a queen of cats has cats and cats and cats. Baby cats, big cats, skinny cats, sick cats.” (13). Perhaps it wasn’t that confusing, but it really jumped out at me. The main thing about this book is it has excellent imagery as I can see every object she describes in my head.

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Mason Freehling
10/28/2012 12:30:48 pm

(:

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Danielle Curley
10/28/2012 10:14:04 am

In The house on Mango Street, the author Cisneros builds the characters and images by using rhetorical strategies like simile, “My papa’s hair is like a broom”(6).Also metaphor, “Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor”(9).The author goes into good detail about the characters and explaining what they look like and what they do. Cisneros wrote with short chapter and short sentences, it’s to the point and shows that the narrator, Esperanza was young and didn’t give much thought to stuff. One part that really stuck with me was when she talked about how the girl Rachel was talking to the bum about her high heel shoes, it showed that she was so young and naïve.(41).

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Evan Scieszka
10/28/2012 10:14:20 am

Although The House on Mango Street was comprised of short sections, many rhetorical strategies and other professional strategies were used frequently. Throughout the book Cisneros uses frequent similes like when she said “like marimbas only with a funny little plucked sound to it” (20). Simile was also used on pages 11, 12, 14, 21, 24, 30, 33, and 40. Cisneros loves using similes because it really helps her display the childhood imagery that she was trying to accomplish. She also used other rhetorical strategies like anaphora and polysyndeton on pages 13, 31, and 39 which helps her accomplish the authenticity of sounding like a child actually wrote it. She uses fragments and a very specific diction to accomplish the sense of “slang” within the community. All the language used eventually helped accomplish this goal. Additionally she has a very lack of emotional attachment that just kind of strikes the reader. On page 30 the narrator shows no real emotion toward the events much like a child who does not know what is going on would feel. The author also uses colors frequently to allow the reader to gain perspective on a specific character or event. On page 24 particularly the word yellow is used to describe multiple things like the color of the car and how it took off in a “yellow blur” (24). On the next page the emotion felt was described as a “dizzy blue” (25). The author is able to expertly able to describe the author’s shame of Esperanza’s particular position while still having a casual tone. The particular passage that really struck me was when she said “and nobody looked up not once the day Angel Vargas learned to fly and dropped from the sky like a sugar donut” (30). Finally the syntax is usually very short and choppy to make brief statements, but it sometimes differs to very long sentences when Esperanza goes on rants, which children often do. This book had excellent imagery and description which allows me to see why Mrs. Ziegler loves it so much.

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Kaitlyn Wade
10/28/2012 10:18:07 am

Obviously, as many of you have pointed out, Cisneros unique vingnette style is a great help in creating her images. I have found that this set up not only helps the reader understand her writing, but it creates more detail about life on Mango Street that a typical story would not have the ability to do. She also uses tons of similes such as, "...and al;most break like fancy museum vases you can't replace," and "like marimbas only with a funny little plucked sound to it like if you were running your fingers across the teeth of a metal comb."(20,29) I have also noticed a ton of anaphora. I think this comes from her decision to tell the story through the innocent perspective of Esperanza. Her simple, repetitive sentances show the innocence of a young girl's mind. Through this innocence, she uses asydeton and polyasydeton in passages like, "Cathy who is queen of cats has cats and cats and cats. Baby cats, big cats, skinny cats, sick cats (13)." The one vingnette that really stuck out to me was "Darius and the Clouds." In the first sentance of this passage, she says, "You can never have too much sky. You can fall asleep and wake up drunk on sky, and sky can keep you safe when you are sad. Here there is too much sadness and not enough sky (33.)" I loved those couple of sentances. It took a simple thing like the sky and related it to her feelings towards Mango Street. The entire section talks about clouds, and her imagery is incredible.

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Kelsey Berndt
10/28/2012 10:35:53 am

I completely agree with everything you just said. I think those first sentences of "Darius and the Clouds" could not have been more perfect. I think it's so childlike. I know when I was a kid, I thought about how amazing the sky was a lot.

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Kaytlynn Toering
10/28/2012 10:23:54 am

Cisneros' novel is unlike any that I've ever read before. She completely submerges herself in her story as if telling it from the point of view of a little child. The sentence structure is so short and choppy, but the details and images leap off the page into the reader's mind. It truly is remarkable. The descriptions of the different characters are all unique in their special way. The way that the characters act are explained through numerous exotic similes and the metaphors. Her writing seems so childlike, yet is so forward and strong. I especially like the chapter 'And Some More' that begins on page 35. the four girls have a conversation with each other, although part of the time you are unsure which character is saying what. Also, Cisneros uses rhetorical questions: 'See that? Where? That's god...God? God, he said, and made it simple' (34). The imagery when Cisneros describes Esperenza's goal to eat at the Canteen is extremely powerful: 'Im no Spartan and hold up an anemic wrist to prove it' (44). Similes are also very powerful, such as 'She used to own a building as big as a whale...' (12). Like mentioned in an ealier blog entry, the section that struck me the most was Our Good Day. We all want friends in life, and we all tend to struggle with our friendships now and then. It's so innocent to describe a friendship as paying someone to be your friend when we all know that friendship is so much greater than that (14). This book has completely blown me away and I can't wait to finish it! Thank you for putting it back in your teaching!

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Michael Gorton
10/28/2012 12:02:08 pm

I completely agree, I can't wait to finish it either! I like how you pointed out that the writing seemed childlike. It seemed more obvious to me more towards the end of the assigned reading where her sentence structure or use of grammer was, as you put it perfectly, choppy. Personally, I feel it just makes the reading more interesting!

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Kelsey Berndt
10/28/2012 10:28:14 am

I have never read a book like The House on Mango Street. The way Cisneros set up the book with the vignettes keeps the story a lot more interesting and allows for a more child-like view than if she had written it in dragging chapters. Cisneros uses a large amount of detail when describing her characters, this also keeps the story interesting, one whole chapter is just about Esperanza's family's hair (8). Cisneros uses a large amount of similes and metaphors as well. When describing Esperanza hearing the music box in the store, she uses three similes right in a row (20). Employing these rhetorical devices, Cisneros creates incredibly strong imagery, really putting the reader in the story with Esperanza and her friends on Mango Street. My personal favorite vignette was "Darius & the Clouds." I can't figure out exactly why, but I think that vignette was especially powerful.

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Kylie Wermund
10/28/2012 10:55:28 am

I also really like how the book is set up. I like that it is broken up into separate passages because it keeps it sporadic. The division of thoughts in the passages is very symbolic of how a child's mind works and I find that it works well in this book.

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Colli Hala
10/28/2012 10:32:55 am

As I sit here enjoying "The House on Mango Street," my eyes have been opened to the amount of detail that can be shoved into all those short little chapters and even shorter sentences. It really shows some city suburb through the eyes of a child. The innocence and naivety gives the feeling of "wow, that's really what its like in there." With Cisneros' sentences, I really felt like everything I read was what she saw and felt when the images and feelings entered her mind. The raw, choppy nature of the book really conveys feeling. The section where Louie's cousin picks them up in the yellow Cadillac, and then crashes really shows what I mean with the sentences (24). The sentences reflect the stimuli as they enter Esperanza's brain. As for imagry, I really like the use of things like "yellow blur" (24) and "dizzy blue" (25). Similes are all over the place, like "...nose of that yellow Cadillac was all pleated like an alligator's." I'm enjoying this book, and excited to finish it.

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Kathleen Risk
10/28/2012 12:52:29 pm

Yeah, the use of color in this book is pretty great. And I also really liked that alligator simile! Like you said, it's cool see the city from a child's perspective, and how real the writing is with its short sentences.

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Gunner Harrison
10/28/2012 10:42:59 am

The author ues very short chapters to describe specific people. She talks about how certain houses look like onesin Mexico (17) to let the reader know the characters are hispanic. She writes with choopy paragraphs that have no specific connection at all. They are short paragraphs on their own, and that is confusing to me. One passage that stuck to me was about the shoes. It shows that they get into truouble when Rachel talks to the bum. I'm not very interested in this book so far, but only because it makes no sense yet.

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Kyle Frazier
10/28/2012 12:30:19 pm

I'm on the same boat. The shoe scene stuck with me as well, just because they cared the shows when the got them, but then they didn't care when they were thrown away. Its interesting reading her description about each scene, but each one isn't related. Cisnero makes it hard to tell what any future conflict is going to be. She probably does that to keep the reader guessing, but who knows. However with reading more, I guess we'll find out.

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Austin Latack
10/28/2012 01:16:51 pm

I concur with you. This book becomes very confusing at times, especially since no quotation marks are used at all so it get confusing as to whom is saying what. The shoe scene did stick out to me as well because they joy that they gave the girls, but only temporarily, in a terrible childhood they had. I do too hope this book clears up so we can see what connections she is tying to make.

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Kylie Wermund
10/28/2012 10:52:36 am

In the first few passages of the book, Cisneros lets the reader know that Esperanza's family moves a lot and how Esperanza feels about that by telling the story from her point of view. She describes the house on Mango Street as having "windows so small you'd think they were holding their breath" (4). This statement provides great detail as to what the house looked like and allows the reader to really get an image in their head. She uses similar details like these in different areas of the book such as when she is talking about all of the cats in Cathy's house and how they "sleep like little donuts" (13). I noticed that along with the vivid detail and imagery in her writing, she also doesn't quote the dialogue that she writes about. For instance, in the passage And Some More (35), the entire passage is a fight that Esperanza and her friends got into and none of it is quoted although all of it is dialogue. I think this is interesting and shows how a child would write about a fight that took place. If a child were to write in their journal about a fight that took place and the words that were said, they would not quote them, they would simply write them down, just as Cisneros did. This really gave the feel of a child's writing rather than an adult's. The passage that stuck with me the most was Those Who Don't (28). That passage showed was really powerful. The line "... watch us go into a neighborhood of another color and our knees go shakity-shake" (28) really stuck with me. She feels completely comfortable in her area even though others may not, but take her out of her element and it's a different story. This is true for many people I'm sure. I especially like how she tells it like it is in this passage. She is extremely blunt in this book and tells it like a little girl would see it.

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Alex Miller <3
10/28/2012 12:33:25 pm

It freaks me out how Kylie and I like the same passage! I definitely agree with how Kylie mentions that she is "extremely blunt" in this book and it is so true. I also like how she mentioned how Esperanza moved a lot which is something that shows the importance of why they the family has a house of their own.

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Marcus Shannon
10/28/2012 10:52:51 am

Cisneros does an excellent job bringing the reader into a child’s life. Esperanza is a unique child, and the way she uses imagery to describe the neighborhood kids makes it easy to imagine them. What I especially like is the imagery added with simile when describing her family’s different hair “My Papa’s hair is like a broom” (6) and “… Mama’s hair smells like bread” (7). The way she does this added with the syntax of the chapters give the innocence and feeling of a child. This is reinforced when Louie’s cousin is caught for stealing a Cadillac. “They put handcuffs on him and put him in the backseat of the cop car, and we all waved as they drove away” (25). This exactly shows how they didn’t think of the negativity of being arrested but just waved good bye to him. Everything comes together for an excellent book of experiencing a childhood that people can relate to because of is tone. Mango Street seems like an interesting place to live and I’m enjoying it through the eyes, and humor, of Esperanza.

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Danielle Keenan
10/28/2012 01:09:52 pm

I agree about her describing the neighborhood children. Its almost hard not have an image of them in you mind while your reading her novel.

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Carley Grau
10/28/2012 11:27:58 am

I loooove this book! Even if there was no specific point to it I would like to read it anyway because the way she puts the words together is like whoever invented candy, its sweet and interesting and she uses words together in a different way than I've ever read. In the section "My Name" I really appreciate the way she puts sentences together. 'It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing" (10). This is a part of one of my favorite paragraphs. The author uses asyndeton and simile to describe her name, making the way she doesn't like it sound pretty in a way. She also has a way of making certain sections portray the sloppy way children talk and the way their thoughts are put together, specifically in the section "And Some More". The whole book has been enjoyable to read and I wish it was longer.

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Zoey Holmstrom
10/28/2012 01:18:35 pm

I really liked how you said that even though there isn't a clear purpose for the writing so far, it's so interesting that you just want to keep reading it. She uses so many fantastic details that it really pulls the reader into the story and keeps them wanting to read even more. I also loved the "My Name" section, too. It made a person's name hold so much emotion and intensity that I've never seen any author use before. I wished it was longer too because I just didn't want to stop so suddenly when I finished page 48.

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Michael Gorton
10/28/2012 11:49:50 am

I must say Cisneros imagery is much more profound than anything I have read in a long time. Almost every passage seems to have at least one sentence that seems to just light up the reading. I especially loved when Cisneros combined her exquisite use of imagery with her variation of writting style in "And Some More" (35). As for the use of dialogue, I found it very intriguing. In one passage it seems like Esperanza is expressing emotion, while in the next has to do with an interesting event in her life. The difference in the way chapters are narrated keeps me interested. So far, I am liking the book, but there are some parts that don't flow with the reading very well and I get lost (such as "Alicia Who Sees Mice" (31)).

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Owen Carow
10/28/2012 11:57:00 am

"Light up the reading" is a good way to put it. The whole story seems to have a nostalgic glow around it. It almost seems like a diary or memoir, and you are also right when you say that some parts of it seem a bit incongruous or confusing. However, I thought that those passages only added to the childlike atmosphere, where everything is interesting, no matter how relevant.

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Jared Wendland
10/28/2012 12:31:25 pm

Great post Micheal for the most part I agree with what your voicing about her strong imagery. For me though, in certain parts, the imagery was well placed and fitting others it seemed too much and blurred the focus. But as a whole I did feel the authors emotion strongly.

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Colby Clark
10/28/2012 09:37:48 pm

I totally agree with you about the imagery, "light up the writing" is a great way to put things. I also thought "And Some More" was fun to read, it was probably my favorite passage in the book.

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Owen Carow
10/28/2012 11:53:33 am

Hello everyone. I thought that the writing style of the book so far has captured the disorienting feeling of being a little kid. The reader rarely knows more than Esperanza does. This is because of Cisneros's strategy of only giving information through Esperanza's eyes. For example, in the part with the stolen car, it's never said that the car was stolen outright, only saying that "they put handcuffs on him and put him in the backseat of a cop car" (25). It is really interesting that details are withheld like that, and gives weight to the story when more detail is revealed. If Cisneros hadn't written the book this way, the soul would be lost and you might as well read a statistical report on Latin-American immigration. The other thing that was obvious to me was the use of figurative language. Practically every paragraph has a simile, or metaphor, or personification, yet it never seems to get in the way of the story or seem cliche. As I read the chapter called "Gil's Furniture Bought & Sold", I was sucked into the story by the rich imagery, especially when I imagined the "couches that spin dust in the air when you punch them" or the "million moths all over the dusty furniture" (19; 20). I can already tell that the book is dragging me in for some very poignant moments, I bet it will be pretty touching.

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Evan Kiel
10/28/2012 12:51:52 pm

I also felt like the story would lose a lot if it wasn't told through Esperanza's eyes it gives you the feeling of being there with her or actually being her at certain points. I agree it shows the confusion and only fragments that she remembers.

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10/28/2012 12:27:03 pm

Cisnero uses many different rhetorical strategies and techniques throughout the exposition of the book. Cisnero uses metaphors and similes when describing the differences in Esperanza’s family. She describes hair like fur, hair that’s lazy, and hair like a broom (6). Cisnero further describes each metaphor and simile as well. Many anaphoras (not a word, but oh well) are used throughout the story to build emphasis. When Esperanza is yearning for a best friend, she explains that she wants one who she can tell her secrets too, one who will understand her jokes (9). Cisnero does this to emphasize the message to the reader. She included a good amount of foreshadowing in the story as well. Esperanza explains why she doesn’t like her name, because of its length and meaning. I think this might play a part in internal conflict later in the book. One of the passages that stick with me is the passage about the music box. I’m not sure why, but the description of the box, and the “...million moths all over the dusty furniture and swan-neck shadows and in our bones” really put a interesting vision in my mind (20). Especially when the old man says it’s not for sale, it just made me think why Cisnero would put this scene in the story. The book is filled with choppy paragraphs and structures, which is interesting. She adds a lot of detail in description in each section, but doesn’t leave a lot of time to think about it, because she changes the topic entirely in the next section. I’m not sure how I feel about the book yet, but it is quite interesting.

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Alex Miller
10/28/2012 12:28:42 pm

Cisneros uses imaginary to capture the true essence of Mango Street and the people who live there. Cisneros uses short, simple sentences to help describe a life of a young girl, Esperanza, and the neighborhood she lives in. The short, simple sentences reflect on the character because usually children use simple words to describe things in their own lives. Cisneros paints a wonderful picture of Esperanza's home, " Bricks crumbling in places, and the front door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in...four little elms...a small yard that looks smaller between the two buildings..." (4). To help capture the imaginary, Cisneros uses rhetorical devices such as similes and metaphors. Cisneros uses a simile while describing Esperanza sibling Kiki, "...has hair like fur" (6). A great metaphor that struck me the most is when Esperanza is describing the relationship she shares with her sister, "Until then I am a red balloon, a ballon tied to an anchor" (9). It is very moving because she describes how she is stuck somewhere when all she wants to do is fly into the unknown. Another part that really struck me was the Those Who Don't. The way she mentions that visitors would be scared to set foot in the neighborhood or that the visitors would be scared that the neighbors would, "attack them with shiny knives" (28) shows how others judge them to be. Yet, in reality these short vignettes show us that they are not bad people that others picture them to be. I cannot wait to read the rest!

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Jared Wendland
10/28/2012 12:31:54 pm

While reading Sandra Cisneros book I noticed within the first part that there are a lot of characters. When Cisneros introduces new characters and places she does so mainly using two reacquiring techniques. A major one, and perhaps the most effective, is direct narration. One case is when she is riding a bike with two new girls (14-16). During this event she reveals many characteristics about the girls, temper, personality, and background through their behavior. The other major technique she uses to construct her characters and settings is through strong description and metaphors. When in the book she is narrating the stolen car event her strong description can be seen. “He drove up in this great big yellow Cadillac…white wall tires and a yellow scarf around the mirror…asked where he got it…we heard sirens”(24). The full description in the book is vivid and paints a clear picture of the awe, wonder, and fear that was a felt during it all. As for a specific quote that stuck with me, the phrase “until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to and anchor” (9). This seemed in a way poetic and stayed in my memory because it.

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10/28/2012 12:55:04 pm

I also noticed how Cisneros gives an inside look on how certain characters are in general, like you said, their tempers and background. All of those details were packed into the bike scenes with those little girls. Cisneros has amazing ability to put so much into so little and short lengths of writing. I am still shocked, looking back at the reading, that I only read 48 pages. I was overtaken with so few words! Great book. I love it.

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Kathleen Risk
10/28/2012 12:43:28 pm

The imagery Cisneros uses helps us get to know her characters and setting. While all the vignettes are short and there isn't much time to describe everything, you can get a good idea from the imagery. One thing Cisneros does is she doesn't use quotes all the time when characters talk, but rather states them as a sentence. This gives an interesting feel to the book; it's like hearing everything from inside of Esperanza's head. However, the one thing that bothers me about this book is that it seems to lack a well defined plot, and just states certain occurrences rather than moving towards a climax. Despite this, each vignette is charming in its own way. The most striking so far was “And Some More,” because the listing of the names in between the arguments was very impressive.

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Evan Kiel
10/28/2012 12:46:17 pm

Well I'm writing this for a second time. There is a lot of imagery in this book. The author uses the short chapter, vignette style to introduce everything separately and show the scattered fragments she remembers from her childhood. This is interesting but I feel like it is hard to tell what is important and what is not. It also seems like there is a lot of useless information. Besides that I have enjoyed the book so far the description is very easy to understand and relate to because of the use of comparison. For example, "... Mama’s hair smells like bread” (7). Also, "She used to own a building as big as a whale..." (12). These description show you how she feels about the object or person as well as allowing the reader to understand. My favorite part was the Tarzan competition "Meme won. And broke both arms." (22) The fragments show how she felt about what happened. So far this doesn't seem like a story but more of just the introduction so i am interested to see what is done with all these separate ideas and people and if they are brought together.

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Jordon Young
10/28/2012 01:40:54 pm

Those examples really display the innocence the author is trying to convey. I liked how certain parts fly by with their short sentences as if the snapshot is only vaguely remembered. The smells like bread simile is one of my favorites too.

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10/28/2012 12:50:25 pm

Cisneros builds the characters through descriptions of things like similes, specifically on p. 11 with her great-grandmother, telling the tiny details of Esperanza and her family’s hair, the way it looks, smells, and behaves p.6, p. 11 when she is describing a character’s name-Esperanza using things like silver and tin to denote how it sounds. Because Esperanza does not like her name she resembles it to how tin feels and how that it would be a pain to experience it in your mouth, like saying her name is a pain. Cisneros also reveals who the characters are and what they are like by saying what they typically do, for instance on p. 20 when she says, “Nenny who thinks she is smart and talks to any old man asks lots of questions.”

There are so many similes on p. 20 when describing the sounds that the music box produces. On p.21, when Cisneros introduces Meme, she describes his appearance while running to untied shoes because of how clumsy he is. Cisneros draws the picture of Marin very skillfully by saying how she looked here: “..., and she wears dark nylons all the time and lots of makeup she gets from selling Avon’(23). Again, Cisneros describes Marin on p. 27 when she depicts, “Marin, under the streetlight, dancing by herself, is singing the same song somewhere. I know. Is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life.” The last statement summarized Marin beautifully. It was my favorite passage so far. Readers can picture Marin easily and from what Cisneros tells. Marin’s whole attitude and habits are communicated so directly and truthfully.

What I notice about the way Cisneros writes is that she hits the details from many perspectives. This is seen very well on page 28. Take the chapter, Those who Don’t, for instance. Cisneros covers what it is like for certain people of different ethnic backgrounds to be in Esperanza’s neighborhood, and the way it is for Esperanza being in other people’s neighborhood. It is very insightful, the way Cisneros writes. Also very brief. She also includes people’s responses without quotes. This is seen on p. 12: “Their mother said no, no, don’t ever sell it. I won’t. And then she closed her eyes and he sold it.” I found that to be a peek into other people’s mind and Cisneros provides a window for the reader to look through to see the reactions of people, which is different from the way anything I have seen is usually written.

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Jordon Young
10/28/2012 12:58:18 pm

The thing that struck me most about the way Cisneros writes, is how organized and descriptive her passages are while still retaining the ability to appear child like. The second passage, "Hairs," is written like an essay. It starts out with a thesis sentence, she writes about their different hair, and then she closes with a quick summary sentence. Throughout the section that we read, Cisneros writes the boring, necessary information like, "There is a junk store. An old man owns it," with the least number of words possible, and elaborates on imagery and tone(19). I love her similes. My two favorites are, the comparison of Esperanza's mother's warmth to, "[...]the warm smell of bread before you bake it[...]" and the comparing of the music box's timbre to, "[...]running your fingers across the teeth of a metal comb,"(6, 20). These descriptions stick with me because of how familiar and basic they are. Who doesn't know what bread smells like during the baking process. Who doesn't know what thin metal sounds like if one was to pluck it. They are so common that they are effective with almost any audience.

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Jerred Zielke
10/28/2012 08:13:04 pm

I agree with Jordon. Cisneros uses what a child would notice in her story to make it seem like a child actually wrote it. A child would notice simple things because they don't know that what they notice is actually simple. To them, it's complex and important.

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Danielle Keenan
10/28/2012 01:05:56 pm

In Cisneros book, The House on Mango Street, she used metaphor and anaphora to further our understanding of Esperanza’s Childhood. An example Anaphora is “Baby cats, big cats, skinny cats, sick cat. Cats asleep like donuts. Cats on top of the refrigerator.(13)” She used metaphors to describe how she felt like “Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor.(9)” The crisp short syntax of the novel creates the mindset of a child in your own brain. The passage “Those Who Don’t” really stuck with me becauseit happens in our own community. I know people who are afraid to drive in Benton Harbor or even go to certain neighborhoods of Stevensville and Baroda because they think someone of a different race is a scary. Our country needs to stop labeling people by color or their skin or their gender.

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Austin Latack
10/28/2012 01:10:53 pm

Cisneros uses a rather unique method in constructing The House On Mango Street. All of her chapters have been generally two to three , sometimes even one, pages long. Each chapter is only somewhat related to its previous one, but they mainly have a different, reflected, childhood memory or story. Cisneros leads the reader to conclude that these were the most significant memories her character, Esperanza, has. Moreover, within these chapters there is a trend on the focus and reference of characters: the more significant characters are frequently referenced to and elaborated upon, while the more minor characters show that they still have a role in Esperanza's memory and place in her heart, but exemplify how she never really had someone always there for her, other than her family.
One part of the book that really stood out to me was on page 22 when a tree was discussed. The whole book describes how terrible of a community on and surrounding Mango Street, but Esperanza elaborates on a certain tree. This tree has many flaws with and around it, but it's still alive, and it's still there providing joy to the children. This tree is an extended metaphor for the prominence of life, even in the harshest conditions. Also "The Family of Little Feet" chapter starts off as third person, as if Esperanza is telling a story about someone else, and then weaves into second person and Esperanza makes the story more applicable to herself. She also focuses how angry her small feet make her in this chapter- showing a clear hatred towards them. In a couple chapters later, "Chanclas," her feet become swollen and enlarged, yet, subsequently, she becomes joyous because her large feet allow her to dance so well as to grab an entire audience's attention.

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10/28/2012 01:39:06 pm

Cisneros obviously uses a lot of imagery through out the first 48 pages. Her description of the neighborhood Esperanza lives in, the school she goes to, her neighbors and friends make me feel like I'm actually a part of the book. Her ability to create a story using a child's perspective is especially great, because I can really tell what Esperanza is feeling about this and that. "We didn't always live on Mango Street. Before that we lived on Loomis on the third floor, and before that we lived on Keeler. Before Keeler it was Paulina, and before that I can't remember. But what I remember most is moving a lot" (3). She also shows this childlike thinking through conversations with Rachel and Lucy, on pages 36-38. She also helps relate to the reader with Esperanza's childlike thinking, when she's talking about hating her name, and wishing she could change it to something more "fitting" and dramatic. "I would like to baptize myself under a new name, a name more like the real me, the one nobody sees. Esperanza as Lisandra or Maritza or Zeze the X. Yes. Something like Zeze the X will do" (11). I am able to picture each character in the book, and the neighborhood they live in because of the highly detailed descriptions Cisneros recites. Her style of writing is easy to read and understand, but it also makes me think and try to read into it. The usage of colors make me think there's a hidden message in the book.

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Zoey Holmstrom
10/28/2012 01:46:46 pm

This book is truly unlike any book I have read before. I can’t wait to see what else this book has in store. Already in just 48 short pages, I feel a much better understanding of what the author went through as a child, and she does a superb job of putting the reader there into her stories. Throughout these pages, the main rhetorical device used is imagery. Along with this, similes and metaphors are constantly used to support the pictures that float in the reader’s mind. In the section titled ‘Hairs’, countless amounts of metaphors and similes like describing that ‘Papa’s hair is like a broom’, ‘my hair is lazy’, and Kiki’s hair is like fur (6). The passage that really makes me feel like I am in the story is the section titled ‘Gil’s Furniture Bought & Sold’. Here, Cisneros uses so many details to describe precisely what the dumpy store looks like. She uses words like ‘rows and rows’, ‘dirty’, and ‘all kinds of things’ to give the setting of the store (19). On the next page, she describes the miraculous sounds coming from the music box. “…he let go a million moths all over the dusty furniture and swan-neck shadows and in our bones”, “or like marimbas only with a funny little plucked sound to it” (20). This paragraph gave me goose bumps all over because of all the words she used to describe the feeling of hearing the music. I’ve realized that when she is describing a joyful scene, she uses lots of descriptive sentences like she did on page 20. However, when she experiences a painful experience, she uses short, choppy sentences. When the mean old nun is telling her that she ‘doesn’t live far. Not even’ Cisneros uses short syntax to show how hurt she is feeling (45). I also really liked how she splits up all of the different sections. It really shows how she remembers just little fragments of her childhood at different stages of her life. I really like this aspect because it gives a glimpse into the author’s mind as they are writing the piece. Overall, I have thoroughly enjoyed this book so far, and I can’t wait to see what else is in store.

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Courtney Bennett
10/28/2012 01:51:11 pm

I am really enjoying the different style Cisneros uses to build the characters and setting. Her syntax is short and simplistic, yet is still very descriptive. She writes in a way that is both direct and full of perspective. I found her imagery very interesting because it not only expressed details about the situation, but it also evoked a specific feeling. An example of this is when she writes “It's like all of a sudden he let go a million moths all over the dusty furniture and swan-neck shadows and in our bones” (20). I also liked how it was mysterious because Cisneros gives just enough information to explain what happened, but little enough to keep you wondering. I thought this was especially evident in “Darius and the Clouds” because Cisneros didn't elaborate too much on why Darius thought the cloud was God. It was also mysterious because there seemed to be a lot of foreshadowing. Cisneros leaves subtle hints of future events, like the repetition of shoes in the story. Additionally, I enjoyed the profound sentences Cisneros often uses to end her different sections, such as “Is waiting for a car to stop, a star to fall, someone to change her life” (27). These really add a powerful closure to the different snippets of memories. The eloquence of the language used in The House on Mango Street is proving to be very striking and I am finding myself eagerly turning pages.

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Jeremy M. Barker
10/28/2012 02:01:31 pm

Cisneros uses several rhetorical devices in her writing and has a special technique. First of all, she uses a lot of imagery from the beginning when she talks about her house (4), then the hair (6), and the way through. She also uses metaphors like "Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor" (9). Her syntax strategy is very short and choppy. By doing this she is getting to the point she's making quicker, or just say only what she wants the reader to know for the story. With her couple word sentences to couple paragraph chapters, her writing is narrow. The description through her imagery give a very good understanding of what she's talking about. She also seems to really like similes and has many examples. "She used to own a building big as a whale" (12), "... but all of a sudden, and surprised like a pile of dishes breaking" (17), or "...dropped from the sky like a sugar donut, just like a falling star..." (30). She also really liked repetition. Epistorphe is used in "Baby cats, big cats, skinny cats, sick cats" (13). Anaphora is used in "They think we're dangerous. They think we will attack them with shiny knives" (28). Cisneros also likes to use parallelism in referring to something she mentioned earlier. She repeats peoples names in her story to emphasize them at that moment. She repeats names like "Marin" (27) and she doesn't just use the person's name. One thing in this section was when she talks about eating with the canteen people. This part just shows her childish attitudes of wanting to do something new and exciting, but also be insecure in her own thoughts.

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Jacob DeSutter
10/28/2012 08:18:57 pm

I hadn't noticed her use of anaphora as much as you did, guess that just wasn't the piece of fruit i was looking for. The repeated names are an important tool in her story and one section "And some more" you just can't get enough repeated names. She scatters them around everywhere. The parallelism she uses in this helps a ton, as that is the only way the keep these passages straight. And repetition, like you mentioned, is a central support beam in this story. It holds everything together, and shows off whats important.

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Justin Marutz
10/28/2012 08:43:30 pm

I couldn't agree with you more Taco, I feel like she puts stress on the things she dwells on with repetition, thus adding importance to the topic. I think it really puts a lot into the story and without it things would be lost from the child's perspective.

Jerred Zielke
10/28/2012 08:03:34 pm

Sandra Cisneros definitely uses a lot of imagery to describe characters and places. For example, she uses an anaphora and asyndeton in "“Baby cats, big cats, skinny cats, sick cat. Cats asleep like donuts. Cats on top of the refrigerator" (13). She uses countless similes and metaphors, but the one that was the most prominent was "...dropped from the sky like a sugar donut, just like a falling star..." (30). Cisneros uses short sentences coupled with a child's understanding of life to make the book seem like it was written by a child. She makes a horrible event like suicide seem like a simple thing because that's how a child would have seen it. The same thing goes for when Louie's cousin steals a car and crashes it. This section was interesting and I can't wait to see what happens later in the story.

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Justin Marutz
10/28/2012 08:48:41 pm

The author writes it in a way that adds to the thought of the main character being a child, while rhetoric and ideas keep the piece entertaining while being able to give it a fresh breath of realism. Also I think a lot of what happens earlier on will affect the characters, perhaps Louie coming back from jail.

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Sam Johnson
10/28/2012 09:45:17 pm

I understand your energy to read forward. The thing that strikes me as dificult to understand is how the "story can progress any further because the events are not exactly linear and bear any importance to one another. I also love how the simplicity of suicide and prison could be found through a childs eyes. But is that really how a child would respond to something like that? I feel as though Cisneros makes her naive just to add wonder to the book even though that is stretching the truth.

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Jacob DeSutter
10/28/2012 08:10:40 pm

The house on Mango street is a unique book, and it is so because of Cisneros style. The way she talks about her name much like a young child thinking about it "It means sadness, it means waiting, It is like the number nine. A muddy color" (p12). Her diction also follows this pattern of a young person, using things familiar to her to describe things "My Papa's hair is like a broom, all up in the air. And me, My hair is lazy. It never obeys Barrettes or Bands." (p6).
This isn't the only way she uses diction to her advantage, as alliterations like "Buttoning, Babying. and Bottling". Her Similes are a recurring things "pleated like an alligators's" (p25), "like a Buick with the keys in the ignition" (p48). She also uses parrallelism and antithesis "I had to wait for two kids in front of me to get hollered at, one for something he did, the other for something he didn't do" (p44). Almost any sentence picked at random will have a rhetoric, and they fit in with her style.

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Justin Marutz
10/28/2012 08:38:27 pm

Sandra Cisneros uses a ton of rhetoric in her writing, though while still putting it in the perspective of a child. Using repetition quite often, such as repeating the phrase, “Five dollars” (14). The depiction of the kids jumping off the roof using similes is eerily stunning comparing the child to sugar on a donut and a falling star (30). Things kids would do, like keep thinking about music box rather than a kid dying. The choppiness and straightforward sentence play fits nicely with the story especially when jumping to the next topic, due to the feeling of ease and a transition pulling into the next. Each ending her final thoughts in the sentence, as the readers move on to the next topic. She writes blurbs of ideas and thoughts kid would have especially when they get new shoes, though stop caring after they had their fun with them (40). Though the passage that sticks with me seems to be And Some More, due to its realistic elements of the kids arguing while tossing in questions while Esperanza answers with names and moves on to the next as child would do if pissed off though still keeping most of it in her head (36). From going to talking about clouds to throwing a hurtful statement of Esperanza’s face and what ensues seems like two kids mad at each other duke it out with insults using nasty descriptions to describe the other “You’re the lumps. Yeah, and you’re the foot fleas, that’s you “(37). It is a quite humorous book packed full of great uses of rhetoric with some deep messages hidden in. A fantastic read, looking forward to what lies ahead in the book.

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Sam Johnson
10/28/2012 09:40:46 pm

Sandra Cisneros uses a large amount of colloquialism throughout the selections in order to create the tone of innocents and sometimes unintelligence. She uses a lot of short sentences throughout the book forgoing most conjunctions and making use of asyndeton (good example at the end of page seven.) The specific writing traits that I love the most include her delicious use of imagery and her impassable use of metaphors. The passage that sticks with me the most is when Nenny asks about the music box and the old man says “This, the old man says shutting the lid, this aint for sale.” Not only does it feel like foreshadowing but it gives the box significants and almost a history. The book so far feels very inspirational so far concerning writing style and what exactly a book can do for you.

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Lauren Clem
10/28/2012 09:46:31 pm

In order to build the main characters and important images in the story Cisneros uses techniques like rhetorical strategies and word choice at the beginning of the story. Right away, anaphora and diacope are used with the phrase "Before... before..." (3) which is used many times right in the first paragraph. She also uses many similes throughout the book. An example would be "Our laughter for example. Not the shy ice cream bell's giggle of Rachel and Lucy's family, but all of a sudden and surprised like a pile of dishes breaking" (17). There are other examples of simile on pages 6, 11, 20, 29, 33, and many other places. To create the image of the story the shorter sentence structure reflects how the main character, Esperanza, would normally talk. Something that i noticed about the way she writes the book is that because she has such a simple mindset in the way she writes, the fact that it is written in the main characters point of view, and the simplicity of the word choice itself, Cisneros can really connect with the readers of The House on Mango Street. To discuss a significant passage, all of the short, choppy chapters can be recognized. Especially in the chapter “Laughter”, Cisneros only has one short part where she references to the word laughter, but the whole chapter is dedicated to it. In a way it doesn’t exactly make much sense, but this uncertainty helps portray the tone set by the author. Cisneros isn’t just trying to write a long, boring story, rather, write something that can really relate to many readers by deliberately coming out and saying what’s on her mind. That is the thing that I really like about this book and makes me want to read more.

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Jeff Lueders
10/29/2012 06:55:32 am

Throughout the first section of the book Cisneros uses a few rhetorical strategies that stick out to me. First of all is her use of similes, metaphors, and analogies to help create a better understanding of the events going on in her childhood. Like in her chapter titled "Hairs" she uses multiple similes to describe her family's different kinds of hair. Another notable strategy is her use of short phrases through the use of asydeton. In her chapter titled "My Name" she uses this tool well. In her second paragraph she only uses two sentences but she makes it understandable, so it works. Cisneros reason for writing this book seems to be the innocence of childhood, and how kids can get stuck into situations that are by no means their fault. It also seems to be moving towards how she made it through all of this as well though. The passage that stuck with me the most was a part in "The Family of Little Feet". The quote is "... her mother who is very clean throws them (the shoes) away. But no one complains." This piece of text stuck with me because it shows how the girls were able to tell how the shoes brought them attention, but it was coming from all of the wrong people. It also gives a understanding of what they're neighborhood was like, since it was so bad that they couldn't go out in high heels without a drunk complementing them on their looks.

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Richard Harris
10/29/2012 10:40:19 am

To add more to the idea of childhood innocence, it is used to make Esperanza's bad neighborhood seem safer than it is. The childhood innocence also makes some of the suspicious/shady characters friendlier. Like everyone else, I agree with that Cisneros's use of methaphors and similes builds the tone, characters, and imagery.

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Richard Harris
10/29/2012 11:44:21 am

To build the characters and imagery, Cisneros uses a ton of metaphors and similes. Hairs (pg 6), for example, contains many metaphors describing Esperanza's family. "My Papa's hair is like a broom." "...my hair is lazy. It never obeys barrettes or bands." In The House on Mango Street (4,5), I rellay like the vivid imagery describing the house, "It's small and red with tight steps in front and windows so small, you'd think they were holding their breath. Bricks are crumbling in places, and the door is so swollen you have to push hard to get in..." I really like the vivid imagery used throughout the entire section of reading. There are too many example for me to list. The writing is very short but very descriptive. The passage that struck me was the same one that struck Jeff for similar reasons, "... her mother who is very clean throws them (the shoes) away. But no one complains." This was in the Family of Little Feet (pg 39). In addition to that, I thought the encounter with the bum on page 41 was really creepy. I also thought there was some foreshadowing going on. One of which was when Esperanza was referring to her home, "...But I know how those things go." (Pg 5). I though there was one or two more examples later in the reading but I can't remember where.

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