The House on Mango Street

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The House on Mango Street Chapter 19 Summary & Analysis

Esperanza’s cousin gets baptized and Esperanza’s mother buys her new clothes for the event, but she forgets to get Esperanza new shoes to match. There is a party after the baptism, and her mother drinks and dances happily. Everyone has a good time except for Esperanza, who is ashamed of her old brown saddle shoes. A boy asks her to dance but she declines. Finally her Uncle Nacho convinces Esperanza to dance, and they dance beautifully while everyone watches. At first Esperanza feels that her feet are big and ugly, but by the end she forgets about her shoes. Everyone claps and the boy watches Esperanza dance the rest of the night.
The memory of the lunch leads to another embarrassing event – Esperanza’s shame at her childish shoes. Shoes symbolize sexuality again here, as Esperanza is in a transition state, and first experiences her emerging sexuality as a desire to be desired by the boy at the dance. Unfortunately her own self-imposed embarrassment paralyzes her, just like when the nun shamed her for where she lived. This shows that Esperanza is still very sensitive, and her own shame will be another obstacle in the way of her development.
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