Originally from Texas, Rachel and Lucy are sisters and Esperanza’s first real friends on Mango Street. She befriends them despite the warnings of Cathy, who believes that, due to Rachel and Lucy’s noticeable lack of wealth, they are unworthy of friendship. Esperanza immediately likes the sisters, as they’re fellow Mexican-Americans who don’t laugh at her Hispanic name. Much of Esperanza’s early explorations of Mango Street happen alongside Rachel and Lucy, who are adventurous, energetic, and entertaining. The three girls, and sometimes Nenny, share a single bike and use it to visit different locales in the area.
It is with Rachel and Lucy that Esperanza first tries on a pair of women’s high heels. The girls walk around the neighborhood in their new shoes and receive increasingly frightening sexual advances from older men. They immediately hide the shoes upon returning home, not yet ready to face the discomfort and even danger that comes with beauty and womanhood. In this sense, Sally, a more sexually mature girl whom Esperanza befriends later in the novel, stands in contrast with Rachel and Lucy. As Esperanza becomes more interested in boys, she spends more time with Sally. However, after Esperanza is sexually assaulted, she distances herself from Sally and returns to Rachel and Lucy, whose friendship is safe and comfortable, as well as connected to the innocence of Esperanza’s childhood.