The House on Mango Street

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The House on Mango Street Chapter 41 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
There are some bad omens like a crying dog and a bird flying through a window, and Rachel and Lucy’s baby sister gets sick and dies. The neighbors go in and out of Rachel and Lucy’s house to view the body. Three old aunts arrive to visit the family, and Esperanza thinks they are intriguing and magical. She finds the wake unnerving, but the three sisters call her over and give her a piece of gum. They tell her “Esperanza” is a good name, and that she is special and will go far. They ask Esperanza to make a wish, and then they say it will come true.
The three sisters contrast with Elenita the “witch woman” in that they actively seek out Esperanza and win her trust. They want her to accept her name – which she used be ashamed of – and find strength within herself. The sisters represent the “Three Fates” of ancient mythology, women who decided births, deaths, and the lengths of lives. This mythological association makes their advice seem more important.
Themes
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Dreams and Beauty Theme Icon
One of the sisters pulls Esperanza aside and holds her face in her hands. The woman says that after Esperanza leaves the neighborhood, she must come back for those who cannot. She tells her that Esperanza “will always be Mango Street.” Esperanza is amazed that the three sisters had guessed her wish, but she also feels ashamed for wishing something so selfish. Esperanza walks over to Lucy and Rachel, feeling dazed, and she never sees the old women again.
The story approaches the fantastical here (in Esperanza’s point of view), as the sisters seem to read Esperanza’s mind and predict her future. They recognize that Esperanza is already strong enough to leave Mango Street, but they remind her of what she thought in “Bums in the Attic,” that she cannot forget where she came from, or abandon those left behind.
Themes
Language and Names Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Dreams and Beauty Theme Icon