Introduction to American Literature – 4


Introduction to American Literature – 4.

Theme in literature refers to the central purpose or message of a text. For example, we recently discussed the theme of escape in The Glass Menagerie. This week, you will explore a theme in The House on Mango Street and relate it to your own life experiences.Sandra Cisneros’s novel explores many major themes, such as issues of culture, gender, identity, alienation, class, and language. For this week’s discussion, please complete the following:

  • Choose one of the themes listed below to discuss in detail. Explain how this theme is developed in the novel, including specific characters and events. Use the questions and definitions provided below for guidance in discussing these themes.
  • Relate this theme to a personal observation or experience, showing a connection to the novel.

Be sure to include 
specific examples from the book to support your ideas.

Thought provoking questions

Below are some thought provoking questions as a starting point for the discussion. Each word also links to a definition of the selected theme:

Gender: What are the cultural expectations of different genders, male and female?


Identity: How do we form our sense of identity? What are some of the major influences on identity? What could cause our sense of identity to be tested?

Culture: What are the important aspects of your culture? How do our individual cultures unite us or divide us from others?

Alienation: What are some factors or situations that might make a person or group of people feel alienated from others?

Language: How important is the English language in the United States? What experiences might a person face if they don’t have mastery of English or if they choose not to speak English in the United States?

Class: How does a person’s financial status and educational background affect their identity or influence their life choices? How do people from different economic backgrounds view or treat one another?

Please contact your instructor if you would like to discuss a different theme that you discovered in the novel that is not listed above.



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