What are 3 ways Esperanza learns to always remember where she came from?  

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tinicraw eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "Bums in the Attic," Esperanza relates how her parents take her to look at large houses on hills on Sundays. She criticizes people who live in those houses because they know nothing of the suffering of her people in the inner-city. They don't know about garbage or rats, for example. She promises that when she owns her own house one day, she will let bums stay in the attic "because I know how it is to be without a house" (87). Because of her own suffering, and the suffering of all living on streets like Mango, she vows never to forget those who are less-fortunate than her when she becomes successful and owns her own home.

Next, in "The Three Sisters," Rachel and Lucy's baby sister dies and three interesting women come to the funeral. While there, one of them calls Esperanza over and tells her to make a wish. The woman seems to know what Esperanza wished for because she tells her, "When you leave you must remember to come back" (105). Esperanza is shocked that the woman must have guessed that her wish is to move away from the inner-city and to buy her own home one day. Apparently, this is possible because the woman knows that Esperanza will escape the plague of poverty in her life, but reminds her not to forget Mango Street, what she's learned from it, and who she is because of it.

Finally, Alicia, the college student, tells Esperanza in "Alicia and I Talking on Edna's Steps" that she can run, but she can't hide from Mango Street. "Like it or not you are Mango Street, and one day you'll come back too" (107). Esperanza says that she won't come back until they make it better, but who will do that? How are things going to change for the impoverished people on Mango Street? They wonder if the mayor might do something; but that makes Esperanza laugh.

Read the study guide:
The House on Mango Street

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