House on Mango Street By: Sandra Cisneros EXPOSITION
Esperanza and her family move to a one bedroom house on Mango Street in Chicago. While the house is better than the old apartment, it still falls short of her expectations. "I knew then I had to have a house. A real house. One I could point to. But this isn't it. The house on Mango Street isn't it"(1.11).
Esperanza battles with her place in the world. "The boys and the girls live in separate worlds. The boys in their universe and we in ours"
Esperanza wants to leave her neighborhood and desires to grow up. She spends time with Sally, a more worldly girl. She gets a job and one of the old men there forces her to kiss him. "Then he asked if I knew what day it was, and when I said I didn’t, he said it was his birthday and would I please give him a birthday kiss. I thought I would because he was so old and just as I was about to put my lips on his cheek, he grabs my face with both hands and kisses me hard on the mouth and doesn’t let go"
Esperanza's friendship with Sally leads to sexual assault at the carnival. "Sally, you lied, you lied. He wouldn’t let me go. He said I love you, I love you, Spanish girl"
Esperanza returns her focus to Mango Street and accepts that she belongs there. She rekindles friendships with neighbors and her less mature friends. "Someday I will have a best friend all my own. One I can tell my secrets to. One who will understand my jokes without my having to explain them. Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor" (3.4).
Esperanza wants to be strong and have a place of her own. She wants to become a writer who is dependent on only herself. "One day I'll own my own house, but I won't forget who I am or where I came from. Passing bums will ask, Can I come in? I'll offer them the attic, ask them to stay, because I know how it is to be without a house"(34.3).