The House on Mango Street

by: Sandra Cisneros

Sections 37–40

Summary Sections 37–40

When a group of anonymous boys assaults Esperanza, she directs her anger toward women and society instead of toward the specific boys responsible. She rages at Sally for not being there and not telling her what sex is really like, and at society for not debunking the myth that sex is connected with love and romance. Sally has proven to be an unreliable friend, always choosing boys’ attention over Esperanza’s friendship, and Esperanza now pays the price for her loyalty. Esperanza’s lack of explicit anger toward her attackers suggests that in Esperanza’s world, any man or boy could have been guilty, but women are the ones responsible for keeping each other safe. In “Red Clowns,” Esperanza’s voice takes on uncharacteristic childish innocence. Esperanza has matured a great deal over the course of a year, but this violent experience renders her helpless and scared. She blames what she knows. Blaming her attackers would require a well of strength she has not yet developed.