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The House on Mango Street | Study Guide

Sandra Cisneros

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Course Hero Literature Instructor Russell Jaffe explains the main characters in Sandra Cisneros's novel The House on Mango Street.

The House on Mango Street | Characters

Character Description
Esperanza Cordero Esperanza Cordero is a young Mexican American woman who dreams of leaving the barrio for a home of her own. Read More
Nenny Cordero Nenny Cordero, whose full first name is Magdalena, is Esperanza's younger sister. Read More
Sally Sally is Esperanza's beautiful and sophisticated friend whom all the boys admire. Read More
Rachel Rachel, one of Esperanza's first friends in the neighborhood, is Lucy's sassy younger sister. Read More
Lucy Lucy, one of Esperanza's first friends in the neighborhood, is Rachel's quiet older sister. Read More
Marin Marin, one of Esperanza's friends, thinks she is very street smart and gives Esperanza advice. Read More
Alicia Esperanza's friend Alicia is responsible for taking care of the rest of the family after her mother's death. She's going to college so she doesn't have to stay in the barrio forever.
Alicia's father Alicia's father thinks it's more important for Alicia to take care of the family than to go to college.
Asian man The older Asian man Esperanza meets at Peter Pan Photo Finishers offers to be her friend and then kisses her.
Mr. Benny Mr. Benny owns the corner grocery store.
Boy with sour breath The boy with sour breath rapes Esperanza at the carnival.
Bum The bum in front of the tavern offers to give Rachel a dollar to kiss him.
Cathy Cathy, the "queen of cats," is Esperanza's first friend on Mango Street. She moves away a few days later because "the neighborhood is getting bad."
Cheryl Cheryl is Sally's former best friend. They got into a fight, and Cheryl bit a hole in Sally's arm.
Carlos Cordero Carlos Cordero is Esperanza's younger brother.
Kiki Cordero Kiki Cordero, Esperanza's brother, is the youngest Cordero child.
Darius Darius tells the other kids in the neighborhood that one of the clouds in the sky is shaped like God.
Earl Earl rents a room in Edna's basement. He works nights and is rumored to have a wife, but nobody can agree on what she looks like.
Edna Edna is Ruthie's mother. She owns the building next to Esperanza's house.
Elenita Elenita is the "witch woman" who reads tarot cards. She says Esperanza's future includes "a home in the heart."
Ernie Ernie is Elenita's son. He watches the baby while Elenita works.
Great-Grandmother Esperanza Esperanza is the namesake of her great-grandmother Esperanza, who was a "wild horse of a woman" until she was forced into marriage.
Frank Frank is the baby son of Esperanza's aunt Lupe.
Geraldo Geraldo is hit by a car after he meets Marin at a dance. The police and doctors don't do much to try to save him because he's an immigrant.
Gil Gil is the old black man who owns the neighborhood junk shop.
Izaura Izaura is Mama's friend. Her husband left her, so now she has to take care of herself.
Aunt Lala Aunt Lala gets Esperanza a job at Peter Pan Photo Finishers, where she also works.
Mrs. Little Feet Mrs. Little Feet gives Esperanza, Lucy, and Rachel a bag of her old high heels.
Lois Lois is Sire's girlfriend. She is older than Esperanza, but she doesn't know how to tie her shoes.
Aunt Lupe Aunt Lupe, whose full name is Guadalupe, is Esperanza's mother's sister. She has an unknown terminal illness that confines her to bed. Esperanza feels bad for making fun of her with her friends.
Mama Esperanza's mother, whom she calls, Mama, is smart and talented in many areas, but her life is limited to the neighborhood. She cautions Esperanza not to drop out of school like she did.
Mamacita Mamacita moved to Mango Street with her baby son to be with her husband, who has been there for a few years already. She does not speak English, which, Esperanza thinks, is why she doesn't leave the apartment.
Mamacita's husband Mamacita's husband insists they are not going back to their old home. He wants Mamacita to speak English.
Minerva Minerva is just a few years older than Esperanza, but she is married with two children. She writes poetry after the kids go to sleep.
Minerva's husband Minerva's husband is verbally and physically abusive. Minerva kicks him out of the apartment, but he keeps coming back.
Monkey The monkey is the pet of a family from the South. He used to roam the garden and scare all the kids away. When the monkey and his family move to Kentucky, the garden becomes safe again.
Uncle Nacho Uncle Nacho dances with Esperanza at her baby cousin's baptism.
Nun on Loomis The nun on Loomis is a teacher at Esperanza's old school. She sees Esperanza playing in front of her family's apartment on Loomis Street and asks if Esperanza lives there, and her reaction to Esperanza's affirmation makes Esperanza feel ashamed.
Meme Ortiz Juan "Meme" Ortiz is a poor daredevil of a boy who moves into Cathy's house after Cathy's family moves away.
Papa Papa is Esperanza's father. He wakes while it is still dark to dress and go to work at his job as a gardener in a wealthy neighborhood.
Rafaela Rafaela asks the neighborhood kids to get her a drink while she is locked in her apartment.
Rafaela's husband Rafaela's husband locks Rafaela in their apartment because he is afraid she is going to run away.
Ruthie Edna's daughter Ruthie is an adult but acts as if she is a child. She and Esperanza share a love of books.
Sally's father Sally's father makes Sally come straight home from school. He is afraid she will get into "trouble" with boys like his sisters did.
Sire Sire stares at Esperanza as she walks down the street. Her parents think he's no good, but Esperanza is intrigued by him.
Sister with cat eyes The sister with cat eyes is one of the elderly women Esperanza meets at the wake for Lucy and Rachel's baby sister.
Sister with laughter like tin The sister with laughter like tin is one of the elderly women Esperanza meets at the wake for Lucy and Rachel's baby sister. The aches in her body tell her when it will rain.
Sister with porcelain hands The sister with porcelain hands is one of the elderly women Esperanza meets at the wake for Lucy and Rachel's baby sister. She tells Esperanza she must always return to Mango Street.
Sister Superior Sister Superior is the head nun at Esperanza's school.
Tito Tito sells his bike to Lucy, Rachel, and Esperanza. Later, he and his friends try to make Sally kiss them.
Totchy Totchy is the son of Esperanza's aunt Lupe.
Angel Vargas Angel Vargas, one of the badly behaved Vargas kids, crashes to the ground when he tries to fly.
Eddie Vargas Eddie Vargas falls asleep in the monkey garden while playing hide-and-go-seek.
Efren Vargas Efren Vargas, one of the badly behaved Vargas kids, chips his tooth on a parking meter.
Refugia Vargas Refugia Vargas, one of the badly behaved Vargas kids, gets her head stuck in the school gate.
Rosa Vargas Rosa Vargas is a single mother with many ill-behaved children.
Yolanda Yolanda is Mama's friend. Her husband died, so she has to take care of herself.
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