In The House On Mango Street what is the lesson Esperanza must learn?

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accessteacher | High School Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

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From the start of this incredible novel that contains so many different experiences that chart the experiences of Esperanza and the other strange assortment of characters that make up her barrio, Esperanza is clear that she wishes to leave Mango Street and to have her own house one day. However, although this desire remains unchanged, what this novel strongly suggests Esperanza needs to learn before she can leave is that Mango Street represents her home and her community, and even if she physically leaves this geographical location, you can never really abandon your roots. Consider the way that this lesson is presented in the vignette entitled "The Three Sisters." What is interesting about this chapter is that the sisters predict that Esperanza is "special" and say that "she will go far," yet at the same time they teach her an incredibly valuable lesson:

When you leave you must remember to come back for the others. A circle, understand? You will always be Esperanza. You will always be Mango Street. You can't erase what you know. You can't forget who you are.

Esperanza thus is forced to see that she cannot erase her roots. Mango Street is a part of her, and she has a responsibility towards the women of her community who "cannot leave as easily" as she can. Esperanza thus needs to learn the importance of community and what an indelible part of us it actually is. Remaining true to your roots is a key concern of this novel, as is the responsibility that Esperanza feels towards the various women of her community who are trapped in unfulfilled lives that they cannot escape from in the same way that Esperanza can.

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