What did the sister with the marble hands mean when she told Esperanza that she must remember to come back for the others?

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pmiranda2857 eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The old aunts call Esperanza over and read her palm. The one with the marble hands says that when she leaves Mango Street, she must remember to return, “to come back for the others.” She tells Esperanza not to forget who she is, because she will always be Esperanza and will always be part of Mango Street.

The three aunta teach Esperanza, who had been so passionate in her desire to leave Mango Street and have a “real” house and to leave her past completely behind her, the ultimate lesson of the novel: that all of Mango Street, all of the characters who populate these stories, all of the people and places Esperanza has known have made her who and what she is. To reject it will keep her from coming back, and, the sister tells her, it is her duty to come back and help others. “A circle, understand?”

Esperanza then realizes that the wish she had made was a selfish one. We don’t know for sure what her wish was, but it’s fairly safe to assume that she wished for a “real” house, one far away from Mango Street. This is a wish that would keep her from completing the circle.

The circle is an important symbol in this vignette and in the novel as a whole. A circle is endless—it has no beginning and no end; it is complete; it is entirely equal and whole. There is no beginning and no end, but rather a continuous return. The future is always connected to the past.

Read the study guide:
The House on Mango Street

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