Explain the following quote from The House on Mango Street: "Maybe the sky didn't look the day she fell down."

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator| Certified Educator

For Esperanza, there is a symbolic power and connection to the sky and the clouds.  This is something repeated often.  The sky/ clouds represents the transcendental power that can overcome the conditions of the present tense.  The "clouds in the wind" represents a form of change that overcomes all obstacles.  This speaks to Esperanza because she wishes to enter a realm where she can change and transform, without having to endure the difficulties of her current state, filled with contingencies that limit her and constrain her sense of identity.  In this idea, the sky and clouds are representative of both change and the power of the divine to facilitate such change.  The fact that her name represents "hope" is another part of this identity that seeks to find redemption and a sense of totalizing change in the sky/ clouds.

In discussing the death of her aunt, it is the first time that the force of death has to be weighed into Esperanza's conception of self.  This means that somehow, death, its finality, and its lack of coherent explanation has to be integrated into a setting of why reality is the way it is.  To this end, the statement of the sky being absent or silent in the death of Esperanza's aunt is a way to explain death.  In Esperanza's understanding, the presence of God, the sky and the clouds, represents benevolence.  The presence of conditions that are sad, such a death, would then be only able to appear because these forces of grace and benevolence are absent.  It is to this end that the quote brings out the idea that sadness, death, and suffering comes about when "the sky didn't look."  When the forces of benevolence are absent from one's life, the forces of negation are able to wreak havoc.

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The House on Mango Street

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