In The House on Mango Street, how does Esperanza change over the course of the story?

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hilahmarca | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Associate Educator

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The House on Mango Street is a bildunsgroman, or coming of age story, so the reader can observe Esperanza mature throughout the course of the book.  She begins as a little girl, concerned with petty things like playground arguments.  Later vignettes show Esperanza becoming aware and interested in womanhood.  This is first evidenced in "Hips" when she notices this defining mark of a woman and ponders why they exist. She later comes of age in "Sire" when she begins to show interest in the opposite sex.  Esperanza also faces many experiences that strip her of her innocence.  No vignette is more powerful in showing this than "Red Clowns" where Esperanza is raped by a man at a carnival.

Esperanza also starts off the book as a selfish girl only concerned with her own desires.  Her focus is on the type of house she wants to live in and how she wants to leave the ghetto.  However, by the end she realizes her dream has to go beyond her own self- interestes.  This mature way of thinking is fully established in "The Three Sisters" when one of the sisters tells her that she must come back to Mango Street to help others like her succeed in escaping.

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