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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Why does Esperanza admire Marin in The House on Mango Street?

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Esperanza admires Marin because "she is older and knows lots of things".  Marin is worldly, and flaunts a sense of sexuality that the younger girls are only beginning to discover.  Marin also has dreams of escaping Mango Street, and appears to the others to have options which will allow her to do that.  She has a boyfriend in Puerto Rico, whom she plans to marry when she goes back, and if she stays in Chicago another year, she will "get a real job downtown...(where) you always get to look beautiful and get to wear nice clothes and can meet someone in the subway who might marry you a dn take you to live in a big house far away".

Marin lives in an environment tightly controlled by her cousin's family.  She must babysit her little cousins all day, and can only come out in the evenings, and only in the front yard.  Yet even within such strict boundaries, she rebels, smoking and "flirting with the neighborhood boys", and her audacity is appealing to the less sophisticated Esperanza.  Marin's dreams of escaping Mango Street are unrealistic.  They are dependent upon finding someone to marry her who will provide her with what she does not have, and as she admits, her boyfriend in Puerto Rico "didn't get a job yet".  She does not see that her avenues of release will only bind her further in the constricting life she abhors, and neither do the younger girls, who are mesmerized by her seeming worldliness and sophistication ("Marin"_.

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