3 Exposition Rising Action The story takes place in Chicago in the 1950’s.The main character is Esperanza Cordero, a twelve-year-old Latina.Esperanza starts the story by introducing her family, and their past struggles. This includes her family’s frequent relocations.Her current house is located on Mango Street, in a Latino district of Chicago.Conflict: Esperanza doesn’t have many friends, and feels ashamed of her run-down house (metaphorically her life).Esperanza struggles to make friends with her neighbors, and tries to drift off from who she is.An example of this is when Esperanza and her two friends, Lucy and Rachel walk around in the high-heeled shoes they got from their neighbor. This showed that they wanted to be mature women, though they were not yet ready to act in such ways.
4 ClimaxFalling ActionThe climax of the story is when Esperanza is playing in the abandoned monkey garden with her flirting friend, Sally and her male friends.But while her friends wanted to kiss and tease each other, Esperanza just wanted to play with the younger kids.This is when Esperanza realized that she had the wrong idea of who she wanted to be.This turning point in her life was also shown when she was abandoned by Sally at the carnival, and left to be assaulted by the “Red Clowns”.
5 ResolutionAt the end of the book, Esperanza visits Lucy and Rachel’s house to pay condolences to their deceased baby sister. While she was there she met three women, whom she thought were witches, who prophesized her future. From this experience, Esperanza learned that she cannot run away from who she is. “You will always be Mango Street. You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are” (105).
6 Women in Windows MotifIn our opinion, the most important motif shown in this novel is ‘Women in windows’.This motif is first brought up when Esperanza tells us the tale of how her grandmother was sheltered from society in her own house. She looked out the window for all her life and longed for herself and other women to break free of the restrictions set by their culture.
7 Women in Windows Motif cont. Some other contributors to this motif are:Louie’s cousin, Marin, who stays shut in her house and stares out the window because of her husband.Mamasita stares out her son’s apartment window all day dreaming of going back to Mexico.Rafaela leans our her window everyday because her husband locks her in their house due to her beauty.This motif is significant in the novel because it represents how many Latinas had the same value as a trophy.
8 Metaphors And SimilesEsperanza described herself as a red balloon tied to an anchor. This shows that she felt she had a terrible, restricted life.Esperanza uses metaphors such as “My aunt, a little oyster, a little piece of meat on an open shell” (60). What she means by this, is that her aunt is helpless and ill. A metaphor such as this shows Esperanza’s feelings towards many of the details of her life.“[He] crumples like a cat and cries, my brave Papa cries” (56). This simile shows just how much Esperanza was affected when the person she relied on the most was crushed by the death of his father.
9 PersonificationIn the novel, Esperanza personifies her house in many different manners. She does this because she has deep feelings towards the way her house looks. She has the idea that her house shapes who she is. An example of this is “Our house with its feet tucked under like a cat” (22).“But I think diseases have no eyes” (59). This example of personification is stating that even though Esperanza tends to have a negative outlook on life, she believes that bad things can happen to anybody.
10 Cultural, Social, and Personal Obstacles Sally constantly faces a cultural obstacle because her father is very oppressive and does not let her go out with boys or many kids for that matter. He does this because of her physical appearance and he wants to prevent her from being taken advantage of. This relates to their Latino culture, voicing the ‘Women in Windows’ motif.Because of her father, Sally is not able to meet many people and spends her time alone at school and at home. This causes her to rebel by flirting and spending time with boys often.Sally is insecure with herself so she wears very mature clothing and an unnecessary amount of makeup, especially for her age.