Activity Overview

Throughout the book, there are a number of recurring themes. Some of the more significant themes in The House on Mango Street are the importance of names, the language barrier, and the power of words.

Using a traditional storyboard layout with a description cell, choose three examples of theme as they appear in the book. Illustrate each cell to show how the theme is described by Esperanza’s words. Under each illustration, include quotes from the text or a description of the theme.

The House on Mango Street Themes to Look For and Discuss

Importance of Names

Esperanza spends a lot of time talking about her own name and the power names have.

    "In English my name (Esperanza) means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting."

Language Barrier

The importance of spoken language is another subject about which Esperanza is quite verbal. Her father had issues understanding and speaking English. He jokes that he only was able to eat “hamaneggs” because it was the only food he knew how to order in English when he first came to the country.

Power of Words

Esperanza takes great pride in her own writing. The reader is able to see that language plays a very important role for Esperanza. Esperanza turns to writing and decides that she will use her writing to escape from the community she wants so desperately to leave.

Template and Class Instructions

(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Copy Activity", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)

Student Instructions

Create a storyboard that identifies recurring themes in The House on Mango Street. Illustrate instances of each theme and write a short description below each cell.

  1. Click "Start Assignment".
  2. Identify the theme(s) from The House on Mango Street you wish to include and replace the "Theme 1" text.
  3. Create an image for an example that represents this theme.
  4. Write a description of each of the examples.

Lesson Plan Reference

Common Core Standards
  • [ELA-Literacy/RL/6/2] Determine a theme or central idea of a text and how it is conveyed through particular details; provide a summary of the text distinct from personal opinions or judgments


(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)

Create a storyboard that identifies themes in the story. Illustrate examples of each theme and write a short description below each cell.
Proficient Emerging Beginning
Identify Theme(s)
All themes are correctly identified and described.
Some themes are correctly identified.
No themes are correctly identified.
Examples of Theme(s)
All examples support the identified theme(s).
Most examples fit the identified theme(s).
Most examples do not fit the theme(s).
Illustrate Theme
Images clearly show connection with the theme(s).
Some images help to show the theme.
Images do not help in understanding the theme.

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