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The House on Mango Street

Sandra Cisneros

Sections 18–21

Summary Sections 18–21

In these four sections, Esperanza begins to welcome her emerging sexual identity, but a forced kiss makes her anxious and wary of it. In “Chanclas,” she is proud that one particular boy watches her dance. In “Hips,” Esperanza’s is the only jump-roping rhyme that explicitly expresses a desire for hips. In the beginning of “The First Job,” Esperanza comes home wet because she has let a boy push her into the water flowing out of an open fire hydrant, the first sign of any outright flirting. However, this seemingly healthy and normal course of sexual maturity derails at the end of that section, when Esperanza’s friendly peck on the cheek turns into a violent kiss on the mouth that is forced on her by an older man. Here, sexuality brings about violence, while in the previous two sections it was celebrated with dances and poetry.