The House on Mango Street


Sandra Cisneros

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The House on Mango Street: Chapter 39 Summary & Analysis

Esperanza addresses this section to Sally. Esperanza has just been sexually assaulted at a carnival, and her narrative is confused and disjointed. She was at the carnival with Sally, as she likes watching Sally laugh on the rides. Then Sally disappears with an older boy, and Esperanza waits for her by the red clowns. While she is waiting, a group of boys attacks Esperanza. She never describes exactly what happens, except that one boy forces her to kiss him and keeps saying “I love you, Spanish girl,” but it’s implied that she was raped. Esperanza helplessly repeats that the event is nothing like what happens in movies or books, or what Sally said sex is like. She is angry at Sally for abandoning her at the carnival, and angry at all the women in her life for not warning about things like this.
Esperanza does not blame her attackers for her rape, but instead is angry at Sally and the other women in her life. She lashes out at what she knows, as she is not strong enough to attack the world of oppressive men yet. Esperanza sounds especially childlike in this section, and it’s clear that the terrible experience has shaken her to the core despite her growing maturity. It is now obvious that Sally is not a good friend to Esperanza, as she again abandons Esperanza for a boy’s attentions. The anger directed at Sally and the other women implies that they are also complicit in such sexual violence when they do not help each other.
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