Black, white, and orange illustration of Esperanza standing in front of a building or structure

The House on Mango Street

by Sandra Cisneros

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Beautiful & Cruel Summary

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Esperanza thinks that she is ugly, and that no man will want to marry her, unlike Nenny, who has pretty eyes. Her mother says she will become more presentable as she grows older, but Esperanza does not want to be tame. She wants to have power, like the beautiful, cruel women in the movies. She has begun the fight by leaving the table the way men do, “without putting back the chair or picking up the plate.”

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