The House on Mango Street

The House on Mango Street Chapter 11 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Marin (Louie’s cousin) has a boyfriend back in Puerto Rico whom she secretly wants to marry when she returns. At the same time Marin also wants to stay in Chicago and get a “real job,” and meet a rich man on the subway who will take her away to a big house. Esperanza knows she is going to be sent back to Puerto Rico, though, because Louie’s parents say she is too much trouble.
Marin tries to find romance and escape in the idea of a rich Chicago man. In this way she is trying to “fly away” like most everyone else on Mango Street, but Esperanza already knows that she will fail and be sent back to Puerto Rico.
Themes
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Esperanza likes Marin, who has lots of useful knowledge – like how girls get pregnant, how to remove facial hair, and superstitions about fingernails and boys. Marin spends all day babysitting Louie’s little sisters, and she is only allowed to go outside at night, and then only on the front porch. Every night Marin smokes a cigarette and dances to the radio, waiting for boys to notice her. Boys try to pick her up, but Marin never acts afraid of them, which seems brave to Esperanza.
Marin is the first older female that Esperanza looks up to (other than her mother). Unfortunately most of the women in the neighborhood offer Esperanza examples of what she doesn’t want to become, as Esperanza already knows that Marin’s dream of being saved by an American man will never come true. Her shared wisdom and superstitions become a part of Esperanza growing up, though.
Themes
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As the chapter ends Esperanza imagines Marin somewhere else in the future. She is dancing beneath a streetlight, waiting for “a star to fall,” for a man to arrive and save her.
Again there are images of falling and flying, as Marin waits for someone to save her. In contrast, Esperanza already knows that she wants to save herself, instead of waiting for a man.
Themes
Identity and Autonomy Theme Icon
Dreams and Beauty Theme Icon