The House on Mango Street

by: Sandra Cisneros

Sally

Characters Sally

When Esperanza begins desiring boys, she seeks out a friend in Sally, whom boys find desirable. Sally seems to be beautiful and cruel, like the women Esperanza admires in movies. She leans against the fence at school and doesn’t talk to anyone. Rumors about Sally’s promiscuity circulate, but Esperanza doesn’t believe them. Instead, she thinks of Sally as a kindred spirit, someone who also spends her time dreaming of escaping the neighborhood. Sally, however, is not interested only in driving boys crazy and then laughing them away, as the women in the movies do. Instead, she finds safety and comfort in sex, feelings she does not find at home with her abusive father. Sally’s sexual exploits make Esperanza uncomfortable, since at this point Esperanza is interested in sex only abstractly. Eventually, this discomfort becomes extreme, and Sally ends up putting Esperanza in physical danger. Sally herself changes little, but Esperanza’s understanding of her changes dramatically. Esperanza’s experiences as Sally’s friend make Esperanza realize she has tried to mature too quickly. In the end, Sally is a pitiable, not enviable, figure in Esperanza’s life.