The House on Mango Street

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The House on Mango Street Chapter 20 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Esperanza, Nenny, Rachel, and Lucy are jumping rope one day and talking about hips. Rachel says that hips are good for propping up babies, and Lucy says you need them to dance. Nenny says if you don’t get them you might become a man. Esperanza defends Nenny’s opinion because she is her sister, and then she offers a scientific explanation of hips (repeating what she heard from Alicia). Esperanza starts to make things up, saying that you have to learn to walk a certain way with them. Nenny says hips are musical, which Esperanza thinks is a stupid idea at first, but then she agrees.
Esperanza’s budding sexuality is expanded here, as the girls discuss the hips they are beginning to develop. As with the clouds, Esperanza (when speaking with her friends) seems interested in “scientific explanations,” which contrasts with her amorphous, poetic writing voice. Nenny proves herself as wise and observant in a similar way to her sister, despite Esperanza’s criticism.
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The girls start jumping rope and making up rhymes about hips. Each girl makes up her own chant except for Nenny, who repeats an old song she already knows. Rachel and Lucy are “disgusted” by her childishness, but Esperanza sees that Nenny is off in her own world.
Cisneros again incorporates childlike rhymes into the written narration, making the chapter seem more poetic and dreamlike. The children use rhyme to process their world – in this case, their unfamiliar sexuality.
Themes
Language and Names Theme Icon
Gender and Sexuality Theme Icon
Dreams and Beauty Theme Icon