Why is Esperanza afraid of Sire and what do her parents say about him in "House on Mango Street"?

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dymatsuoka eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Sire is a man in the neighborhood who leers at Esperanza as she walks by.  He has a girlfriend, Lois, who "is tiny and pretty and smells like baby's skin...but she doesn't know how to tie her shoes".  Mama tells Esperanza she is not to talk to Sire, and that girls like Lois "are the ones that go into alleys", implying that, incapable and uneducated, they have no future except in, perhaps, prostitution.  Esperanza knows she herself can do better than that - symbolically, Lois doesn't know how to tie her shoes, but Esperanza does.

Esperanza is afraid of Sire because he makes her uncomfortable; she says, "it (makes) your blood freeze to have somebody look at you like that".  Yet at the same time, Esperanza is curious.  Sire's lecherousness awakens in her an inexplicable desire, and she wonders, where does he take Lois, and how does he hold her, and kiss her?  The deeper reason Esperanza is afraid of Sire is because of the feelings he evokes in her, the beginnings of awareness of her own sexuality.  She says, "everything is holding its breath inside me...everything is waiting to explode like Christmas...I want to be all new and shiny...I want to sit out bad at night, a boy around my neck and the wind under my skirt" (Sire).

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The House on Mango Street

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