Introduction to American Literature – 4

Introduction to American Literature – 4

This week we start our exploration of The House on Mango Street.  In Week Six, with Eliot, Williams, and Cummings, we discussed how to use critical approaches to analyzing works of literature.  This week, with The House on Mango Street, we will focus on one approach, the biographical approach.  As our American Literature Study Guide says, the biographical approach is a tool for using elements of the author’s own life to deepen our understanding of a piece of literature, in this case to examine how Cisneros’s fascinating, eventful life influenced or shaped the characters, plot, setting, theme, or tone of The House on Mango Street

Part 1: Select one of the topics in the bullet points below and reflect on how it has impacted or influenced the novel.  Please construct a paragraph focusing on one of the following topics about the author Sandra Cisneros:

  • Childhood
  • Parentage/ancestry
  • Education
  • Working life
  • Roots in Chicago
  • Family’s relative poverty

Here are some possible sources you may want to use to gather information about Sandra Cisneros, in addition to the novel’s introduction or the online library:

Part 2: The second paragraph will also be focused on the biographical approach, but instead of reflecting on Cisneros’s life, you will reflect on your own.  While reading the novel, consider your own life, looking out for any quotes that resonate especially with your own life story.  In your second paragraph, write out the quote and explain why it seems relevant to your own experiences.