The House on Mango Street

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The Three Sisters Symbol Analysis

The Three Sisters Symbol Icon
In Esperanza’s vision of her dream house, one of its few specific characteristics is Esperanza’s shoes beside the bed. This shows that an important part of her goals involves maturing into her own sexuality, while still retaining her independence and power.

The Three Sisters Quotes in The House on Mango Street

The The House on Mango Street quotes below all refer to the symbol of The Three Sisters. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Language and Names Theme Icon
). Note: all page and citation info for the quotes below refers to the Vintage Books edition of The House on Mango Street published in 2009.
Chapter 41 Quotes

When you leave you must remember to come back for the others. A circle, understand? You will always be Esperanza. You will always be Mango Street. You can’t erase what you know. You can’t forget who you are.

Related Characters: The Three Sisters (speaker), Esperanza Cordero
Related Symbols: The Three Sisters
Page Number: 105
Explanation and Analysis:

In this strange vignette, wherein Esperanza visits the home of her two friends and their recently deceased baby sister, Rachel and Lucy's three aunts remind us of the fortune teller from earlier in the book. They have a dreamlike presence, coming "with the wind" and "barely noticed" by the people of Mango Street (and perhaps echoing the Three Fates of classical Greek mythology). We might even wonder whether Esperanza dreams this passage or really experiences it. 

Either way, one of the aunts tells Esperanza to come back for her community when she leaves. The mysterious aunts, like a three-headed fortune teller, intuit Esperanza's desire to get far away from Mango Street and encourage her to do so only under the condition that she return for "the others"-- the same people Esperanza thinks she needs to escape. That Esperanza is bound to these people by their mutual residence on Mango Street is one of the main difficulties she faces. But the aunt tells her not to even try to escape Mango Street in an emotional sense. This wisdom seems to stick with Esperanza, who ends up writing all these vignettes as a kind of affirmation of the power her writing has given her--and using this power to figuratively "come back" for the trapped, powerless women of Mango Street.


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The Three Sisters Symbol Timeline in The House on Mango Street

The timeline below shows where the symbol The Three Sisters appears in The House on Mango Street. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 41: The Three Sisters
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Dreams and Beauty Theme Icon
...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... (full context)
Language and Names Theme Icon
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Dreams and Beauty Theme Icon
...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... (full context)