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The House on Mango Street Cisneros's Style
Sandra Cisneros's writing style in the novel The House on Mango Street transcends two genres, poetry and the short story. The novel is written in a series of poetic vignettes that make it easy to read. These distinguishing attributes are combined to create the backbone of Cisneros's unique style and structure.
The novel has confused many critics and readers because it reads like poetry, yet in actuality it is a narrative. Cisneros admits that many of the vignettes are "lazy poems." This means that they could be poems if she had taken the time to finish them (Olivares 145). At many times throughout the novel the words rhyme and can almost be put to a catchy tune. For example, the chapter "Geraldo No Last Name" reads like a poem with end rhyme and a structured pattern. "Pretty too, and young. Said he worked in a restaurant, but she can't remember which one" (Cisneros 65).
At the other end of the spectrum, the novel is a series of vignettes. "I would affirm that, although some of the narratives of Mango Street are 'short stories,' most are vignettes, that is, literary sketches, like small illustrations nonetheless..." says critic Julian Olivares (145). Cisneros has stated that she wants a reader to be able to pick up the novel and understand its meaning from any point within; therefore, the novel is told in a series of vignettes, each of which makes it own point. The vignettes are combined to create a larger story (Olivares 145). "Chanclas" is an example of Cisneros's sound prose vignettes. "Meanwhile that boy who is my cousin... asks me to dance and I can't" (Cisneros 47).This chapter is a literary sketch which illustrates Esperanza's insecurity about being poor.
Mango Street isn't necessarily structured in chronological order. There are no drastic nor specific changes in time. The reader understands that the character is growing up, but the existing structure can be rearranged without compromising the reader's understanding. The chapters "Hips" ("They(hips) bloom like roses, I continue because it's obvious I'm the only one who can speak with any authority...") and "The First Job" ("So the next morning I put on the navy blue dress that made me look older.
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Sandra Cisneros has a notably distinct style of writing that has not gone unnoticed by the world. The lyrically written vignettes whch comprise The House on Mango Street create simple reading that forces the reader to understand the points being made. Her structure also enhances the flavor of eloquent, yet simple, vignettes.