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Free Study Guide-The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros-Book Notes
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CHAPTER SUMMARY AND NOTES

CHAPTER 41: The Three Sisters

Summary

Aunts of Lucy and Rachel, the sisters are mysterious, almost witchlike. They inform Esperanza that she is special and tell her to make a wish. She does, and then one of the sisters tells her privately to make sure that when she leaves, she will come back for those who cannot go as easily as she. Esperanza is shocked that the woman can seemingly read her mind.

Notes

The sisters confirm what Esperanza has always hoped about herself: that she is special, and that she will escape. Their words seem undeniable, because of their magical quality. Though the conversation takes place in a crowded home, it feels to the reader as if Esperanza and the sisters are alone in a secret place, which lends the conversation more gravity.

CHAPTER 42: Alicia and I Talking on Edna’s Steps

Summary

Esperanza tells Alicia she will not return to Mango Street until someone fixes it up, even though Alicia says that Mango is part of Esperanza whether she likes it or not. The girls consider who might improve the street, and laugh at the idea of the mayor taking an interest in the project.


Notes

Esperanza and Alicia understand that they live in a neighborhood that is generally ignored by city officials. They have grown cynical and somewhat world-weary, despite their youth. This attitude is reflected in the organization of the chapter. It flips back and forth between “Who’s going to do it? The mayor?” and “Who’s going to do it? Not the mayor.” Esperanza remains angry at Mango Street, even though she has recently promised the sisters that she will not forget her past.

CHAPTER 43: A House of My Own

Summary

Esperanza wants a house that belongs only to her, where she does not have to pick up after someone else, where everything is organized the way she likes it, and where she can write.

Notes

Esperanza finally understands just what she wants her own house for: writing. She has figured out what is valuable to her. Now, it is not simply about finding a place she does not have to be ashamed of. It has a purpose. Esperanza’s ambition is characterized by the short, descriptive phrases in the chapter. Her vision is clear, so the images in the chapter are clear.

CHAPTER 44: Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes

Summary

Esperanza likes to tell stories, and realizes that writing about Mango Street can sometimes make the pain of it go away. She vows to do as the Sister told her, and return for those she left behind. She understands that Mango Street belongs, and does not belong, to her--that it is part of her life, but she need not be controlled by it.

Notes

There is a contrast here between the childlike concept of telling stories and the very real way in which those stories can develop and enrich one’s adult life. Esperanza realizes that telling stories is the way for her to escape Mango Street. They make her strong. That strength is demonstrated not just by her ability to leave, but also her ability to come back--something she never thought she could bring herself to do, but now has resolved to do.

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