Summary and Analysis:
"I like to tell stories,"
Esperanza begins-and then she does: "We didn't always live on Mango Street." Readers will remember, of course, that these are the opening words of the
novel. We now realize that we have been reading Esperanza's story, the story
she has put down on paper to avoid the ache caused by the ghosts of the past.
In telling the story, Esperanza finds freedom and liberation, just as Minerva
had said she could. Apparently, Esperanza is still living with her family on Mango Street: "One day I will pack my bags of books and paper. One day I will say goodbye to
Mango." But that day is not today. Today, she has been spinning for us her
story, allowing us to experience the life-creating power of narrative for
ourselves. She has brought herself alive for us, even as she relates the story
of how she has grown into her own person. And, for today, that accomplishment
is enough. It is the promise of greater liberation to come, as the never-ending
process of growing up continues. "One day," says Esperanza, "I will go away,"
but she will do so, as the three sisters told her, "for the ones I left
behind." In other words, when Esperanza is ready to leave Mango Street, she
will take it with her. She will always remain connected to the community in
which, through good and bad, her identity was formed. And in telling her story,
which releases her, she also achieves release and freedom for those who cannot
or will not tell their own stories: for all the "no-names" like Geraldo, for
all the abused and trapped and scared women like Minerva and Sally. In telling
her story, Esperanza has found freedom for herself and for her whole community.