The House on Mango Street is not divided up by chapters but by vignettes. The fourth one is called "My Name," in which Esperanza explains how she feels about her Spanish name. She repeats different meanings of her name to show how deeply she dislikes it. Not only that, she seems to feel some frustration about it because her name means "hope" in English, but she believes that the Spanish meaning represents sadness and waiting for something better to come along in life that never does. For example, Esperanza repeats herself as follows:
"In English my name means hope. In Spanish it means too many letters. It means sadness, it means waiting. It is like the number nine. A muddy color. It is the Mexican records my father plays on Sunday mornings when he is shaving, songs like sobbing" (10).
Esperanza uses the repetition of the word "name" and "it means," to highlight the importance of what the name means to her as opposed to what the different languages suggest. Hence, she does not like what her name represents because all she sees in the Spanish spelling is sadness and waiting, not hope. As a result, she tells the story of receiving her name from her great-grandmother who suffered under that name with both sadness and waiting as well.
"She looked out the window her whole life, the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow. . . I have inherited her name, but I don't want to inherit her place by the window" (11).
Esperanza mentions sadness again coupled with the image of her great-grandmother leaning on her elbow and waiting for a better life to happen. This younger Esperanza, however, wants to be happy, make a life for herself, and not wait for someone or something to rescue her.