The House on Mango Street


Sandra Cisneros

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The House on Mango Street: Chapter 16 Summary & Analysis

One day Esperanza, Nenny, Rachel, and Lucy are looking at clouds and chatting aimlessly. Esperanza says that Eskimos have thirty different names for snow, and then the girls start talking about names for people and clouds. Esperanza names the cumulus and nimbus clouds in the sky, while Nenny starts listing commonplace names (like Nancy, Mildred, Joey). The rest of the chapter is interspersed with Nenny’s litany of names. Rachel and Lucy compare the clouds to things like hair, and one of them says that Esperanza has a fat ugly face. This leads to a playful battle of insults between the girls.
The cloud of the last chapter continues here, as well as the emphasis on poetry and language (and names). Esperanza’s interest in the scientific names of clouds suggests that she is already more “scholarly” than the other girls, but all of them have the ability to make surprising and poetic comparisons. We first see Esperanza’s “speaking voice” here, and an example of daily interaction between the girls.
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