2020 Student Research Conference:
33rd Annual Student Research Conference

Teaching Identity and Intersectionality with Sandra Cisneros’s The House on Mango Street


Austin D. Heineman
Dr. Hena Ahmad, Faculty Mentor


This essay argues for the incorporation of Sandra Cisneros’s young adult, coming-of-age novel The House on Mango Street as a classroom text. The novel provides a pedagogical opportunity for the discussion of the Mexican-American experience in the United States. The main character, Esperanza Cordero, narrates the novel through a series of poetic vignettes of her childhood in Chicago. Throughout her story, her desires frequently contradict what is expected of her, and she encounters much dissatisfaction in her childhood. This makes the novel an essential classroom text as it subverts many pre-conceived notions, both of classical narrative structure and the Mexican-American experience. Readers can easily identify with Esperanza’s self-discovery and dissatisfaction at times while making this novel more student-friendly as well. Reading The House on Mango Street allows students to learn that minority literature and identity are not monolithic, thereby subverting the "othering" of such literature.


Keywords: Sandra Cisneros, Young Adult Literature, Mexican Immigrant experience, The House on Mango Street, Assimilation, Belonging, Gender, Acceptance


Presentation Type: Oral Presentation

Session: TBA
Location: TBA
Time: TBA

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