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The House On Mango Street

Response Journal to "What Sally Said" by Sandra Cisneros from The House on Mango Street or "Sisters" by Jan Wilson

Compiled by Danielle Garcia

Welcome and learn about a real world social issue on The House On Mango Street, one of many which people can relate to:   abuse.  Abuse whether physical, sexual, emotional, or mental can be seen through one's physical appearance, actions, reactions, or responses.  Abused victims find it difficult to report those that victimize them because in many cases, it involves a close relative.  In The House On Mango Street, there's a chapter called "What Sally Said."  In this chapter, it appears that Sally knows that it's obvious to everyone that her father is abusing her, but she, when she is talking, quickly changes the conversation about her father.  She tries desperately everyday to cover up that he has anything to do with her bruises.  Sally rationalizes the situation by saying that her mother treats her wounds and again detracts from the real issue to protect her father.  As an outsider, Esperanza only sees and knows what Sally tells her.   We as a reader, can see more than what Esperanza is telling us.

Laura Baggaley

Quote Response
"And would have stayed too except when the dark came her father, whose eyes were little from crying, knocked on the door and said please come back, this is the last time."

"What Sally Said" – The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

This quote is very powerful. It shows that when you try to get away from something it keeps coming back to haunt you. When something that means so much to you goes totally wrong you try to believe that it’s not true. Maybe running away will help. Sally tried to believe that her father’s abuse was not real. She tried to make up excuses for him. She took the blame! She had to get away from it all, so she went to Esperanza’s house. I think it is important to always have someone to run to for help or to talk to.

In life today many situations occur like what happened in "What Sally Said". Many times people try to run away from their problems instead of confronting them. Then at one point in their lives the problem resurfaces, and they are face to face with the same situation. I really liked this quote because it emphasized how the problem came back. What Sally had to realize is that this isn’t the last time, and she needs to face her father and discuss the situation.

I don’t think I could ever imagine being in Sally’s position. This quote paints a vivid picture of Sally face to face with her crying father pleading to give him another chance. I don’t think that I could handle telling my father that I couldn’t give him another chance.

This was an awesome quote that is true to reality and gives you a perfect image of the whole situation.


Mandy Conover

Quote Response
"I watched myself begin this horrible deed."

"Sisters" – Jan Wilson

This quote, from "Sisters" means, to me, that Janie knew that what she was doing was wrong and that she would get into trouble, but she did it regardless. It was like an "outer-body" experience for her. She stepped out of her skin and watched herself pour the milk into Carol’s head. And knowing, seeing, what she was doing, she did it anyway.

I believe that the events in this story are real, or at least the story is based on a true situation. I also think that this statement is very important. The author must have included it to show that this act was not completely without thought; and that Janie felt a sense of regret for her action. She may have thought it necessary at the time, though, to make her sister "pay" for what she was saying about Janie and her boyfriend, David. This quote begins a paragraph that describes the action of Janie towards Carol. And in the paragraph, it is stated "oh sweet revenge." So, even in her regret, she was content with her action because that was what it took to make her feel better for what had been said to her by Carol. It really was revenge to her.

The sentence following this quote, "My hand seemed to have a will of its own," has a very familiar meaning and further emphasizes my feeling that Janie’s emotions were in control of her actions. I believe that, sometimes, people really don’t have complete control over what they say and do. Consider it temporary insanity, if you will. From experience, I can honestly say that sometimes when I am angry or hurt, or scared, or even frustrated, I say things that my mother says I can control....but I really cannot. And no one ever seems to agree or understand. I guess I know that Janie does.


Amy Rivera

Quote Response
"Until the way Sally tells it, and he just forgot he was her father between the buckle and the belt."

"What Sally Said" – The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Sally is being beat by her father. He does this quite frequently which keeps Sally home from school some days. He doesn’t do it so much to correct her, but more because he doesn’t like something she is doing, even if it is not wrong. Sally’s father was neglecting to follow through with his fatherly duties. When it says he just went crazy, I’m assuming he must have acquired some mental problems. This may have brought on some of the whipping with the belt. Maybe the belt whipping was not totally his fault. He started doing it and after he got used to doing it so often, he got addicted to it and just couldn’t stop. This was still his problem, though, and he should have taken care of it. The responsibility of a father is to care for and meet the needs of your child, and also to look out for the best interest of the child. Sally’s father was not doing this by any stretch of the imagination. It says between the buckle and the belt he forgot he was her father. In other words, when he got his hands on the belt, he was no longer following the duties of a father. He whipped her so much that he soon forgot how to be a father. He was not following through with what was expected of him.


Stephanie Doherty

Quote Response
" I had the horrible impression this was going to be a beating I’d never forget."

"Sisters" – Jan Wilson

This quote is from a passage called "Sisters". It was about a girl named Janie, who got angry with her sister. Then she dumped milk on her head. Janie’s sister called for her dad. Her dad came in angry. He then dragged Janie into her bedroom and gave her a beating she’d never forget. This passage sent chills up and down my spine. I could not understand her father, a man that is suppose to love her so much, could beat Janie so bad that her whole body agonized with pain. What upset me was that Janie knew what was going to happen. She knew this was going "to be a beating she’d never forget". If I were her my stomach would get twisted in gut-wrenching fear. To have someone you love so much and hold so high in your jurisdiction, beat you, must be painful not only to the body, but also to the heart. Then her younger sister came in and saw her in such bad shape. Janie’s father not only abused her physically, but he also abused her emotionally.


Lynne Sheppard

Quote Response
"He never hits me hard"

"What Sally Said" – The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

In the chapter, "What Sally Said," Esperanza's family, Sally, tells her that her father hits her. She tells everyone else that her bruises are from her falling. Sally's father thinks she will run away her aunt and make her family look bad.

I think Sally is afraid what will happen to her family if she told an adult. She does not want to split the family up. She makes up excuses for her father and is not ready to leave home. I came to that conclusion because Sally got permission to stay with Esperanza's family. She did not even spend the night at her house. In the middle of the night, her father arrives on Esperanza's doorstep. He begs Sally to come home with him. He promises Sally he will not hit her and that her life at home will be different.

Sally's mother does not intervene when her husband hits her daughter. She just watches him being abusive to Sally. Even though she lets her husband beat her child she still sympathizes with Sally. She tries to make Sally's home life a little better by rubbing lard on her bruises.

Another reason I think Sally is afraid of her father is the way she acts. At school she wears her skirt short, flirts with the guys and is outgoing. But when Sally walks home she makes her skirt longer and looks at the ground.

Esperanza is afraid for her friend. She is worried what the effects of her abusive relationship will be. Esperanza looks up to sally and considers her a good friend.

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Last updated:  Sunday, March 18, 2001

1998 - Hill, Lara and her English 1 Honors Class