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In The House on Mango Street, what is the best thing that happened to Esperanza?

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asongasoldasr... | Student, Grade 9 | eNotes Newbie

Posted October 2, 2011 at 9:48 AM via web

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In The House on Mango Street, what is the best thing that happened to Esperanza?

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

Posted October 2, 2011 at 9:43 PM (Answer #1)

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Well, out of the many bad things that happen to Esperanza and the way that she is forced to grow up at such a young age and be confronted with so many of the brutal facts of life for immigrants in the US, one vignette in this novel that does show something good happening to her is in "The Three Sisters," in which Esperanza meets three old women who clearly have some kind of prophetic power, as they seem to be able to read Esperanza's thoughts and know her desires. They ask Esperanza to make a wish, and then declare that it will be fulfilled, but then go on to give her some advice regarding her wish, which is of course to leave Mango Street and obtain a house of her own:

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.

We can understand how affirming, and perhaps challenging, this would have been for Esperanza. She is told that she will succeed in her dream, but at the same time she is told that she cannot achieve the complete escape that she desires, as she is forced to recognise that Mango Street now forms an inextricable part of who she is and she has some measure of responsibility towards "the others," the women whose lives are trapped on Mango Street. This would have thus been both a tremendous encouragement but also a challenge.

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