Cliff Notes™, Cliffs Notes™, Cliffnotes™, Cliffsnotes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company. TheBestNotes.com does not provide or claim to provide free Cliff Notes™ or free Sparknotes™. Free Cliffnotes™ and Free Spark Notes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company and Barnes & Noble, Inc., respectively. TheBestNotes.com has no relation.

TheBestNotes.com: Free Summary / Study Guide / Book Summaries / Literature Notes / Analysis / Synopsis
 
+Larger Font+
-Smaller Font-





Free Study Guide for The House on Mango Street by Sandra Cisneros

Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version


THE HOUSE ON MANGO STREET LITERATURE NOTES


CHAPTER ANALYSIS / SYNOPSIS


CHAPTER 37: What Sally Said


Summary

Sally confides in Esperanza that her father beats her because she talks to boys. In public, she says that she simply falls down a lot. Sally decides to live with Esperanza for a while, but her father comes to the house and pleads for forgiveness, and she goes home with him. Soon after, he beats her again, even more severely.


Notes

Since Esperanza previously revered her as an almost mythic character (she has “eyes like Egypt”) Sally’s vulnerability is all the more poignant. She may look like a woman, but she cannot stand up for herself. The fact that each character is unreasonable in this chapter is reinforced by the almost childlike way they speak. Sally, who protects her father even when it harms her to do so, repeats, “He never hits me hard,” even though it is clear she is lying. Her father, driven nearly insane by his daughter’s behavior, shouts, “You’re not my daughter,” over and over, as he beats her. Because of their inability to face reality, Sally and her father appear to be doomed to repeat their cycle forever, something hinted at when Sally returns home with her father when he promises never to hit her again--and then does.




CHAPTER 38: The Monkey Garden


Summary

The garden is where the children play when they want to get away from the adults. One day Sally is standing at the edge of the garden, talking to boys, and though Esperanza would rather run around with the younger kids, she approaches Sally. The boys have taken Sally’s keys and tell her she must kiss them in order to get them back. She laughingly agrees. This makes Esperanza uncomfortable, and she tries to stop it, but the others just make fun of her and make her feel foolish. She runs away, crying and wanting to disappear. She tells us it is the last time she goes to the garden.


Notes

Esperanza is slowly realizing how different she is from Sally. While Esperanza is content to play with the younger children, Sally has her own game, which Esperanza does not understand. She tries to stop the game through childish means (by hitting the boys with sticks, or telling their mothers) but the others laugh her away, and she realizes that the old way of doing things is not effective in this new world. This scares her, and she (and the reader) realize that, though she would like to be mature, she is not yet ready to give up childhood. The garden is described almost like Eden, and it is significant that at the beginning of the chapter, Esperanza runs through it freely, while Sally stands at its edge. Once Esperanza encounters Sally’s game, however, she herself can no longer return to the garden. It does not seem to belong to her anymore.




CHAPTER 39: Red Clowns


Summary

Sally takes Esperanza to a carnival, then leaves with a boy, telling Esperanza to wait for her. While waiting, Esperanza is molested by a number of boys, one of whom says to her, “I love you, Spanish girl.” Sally never comes back.





Notes

Esperanza is forcibly introduced into the adult world, where fantasies are not always fulfilled. She realizes, bitterly, that sex and love do not always mix, and that boys are not always romantic. She feels betrayed, by Sally and by life itself. The chapter is related in a dizzy and disjointed manner, as though Esperanza is again in the midst of those boys, looking for a way out, feeling persecuted (“the moon that watched”) and terrified.




CHAPTER 40: Linoleum Roses


Summary

Sally gets married at the eighth grade. Her husband will not let her go out or see her friends very often, and he has a temper, but she says she is in love and enjoys looking at all the things they own in their little apartment.


Notes

Esperanza recognizes that marriage is not a solution to Sally’s problems. She ironically mentions the ceiling of Sally’s new apartment, “smooth as a wedding cake.” Esperanza has begun to see marriage as a prison that holds free spirits like Sally hostage.




CHAPTER 41: The Three Sisters


Summary

Aunts of Lucy and Rachel, the sisters are mysterious, almost witchlike. They inform Esperanza that she is special and tell her to make a wish. She does, and then one of the sisters tells her privately to make sure that when she leaves, she will come back for those who cannot go as easily as she. Esperanza is shocked that the woman can seemingly read her mind.


Notes

The sisters confirm what Esperanza has always hoped about herself: that she is special, and that she will escape. Their words seem undeniable, because of their magical quality. Though the conversation takes place in a crowded home, it feels to the reader as if Esperanza and the sisters are alone in a secret place, which lends the conversation more gravity.

 

Previous Page | Table of Contents | Next Page
Downloadable / Printable Version

The House on Mango Street Free BookNotes Summary Study Guide

Privacy Policy
All Content Copyright©TheBestNotes. All Rights Reserved.
No further distribution without written consent.
1946 Users Online | This page has been viewed 7086 times
This page was last updated on 5/9/2017 8:50:31 AM

Cite this page:

TheBestNotes.com Staff. "TheBestNotes on The House on Mango Street". TheBestNotes.com. . 09 May 2017
             <>.