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Quotes

Quote #7

One day I'll own my own house, but I won't forget who I am or where I came from. Passing bums will ask, Can I come in? I'll offer them the attic, ask them to stay, because I know how it is to be without a house. (34.3)

In the future that Esperanza is fantasizing for herself, she says she won't forget who she is or where she came from – even though she will later deny that Mango Street is her home, and say that she doesn't want to come from there. Esperanza's feelings of embarrassment and shame at her origins aren't always consistent.

Quote #8

Some days after dinner, guests and I will sit in front of a fire. Floorboards will squeak upstairs. The attic grumbles.

Rats? they'll ask.

Bums, I'll say, and I'll be happy. (34.4)

The second house that Esperanza envisions is a social space – a place for friends to gather and dine in, with an attic to offer to bums who have no other shelter.

Quote #9

I could've been somebody, you know? Esperanza, you go to school. Study hard. That Madame Butterfly was a fool. (36.3)

In the opera Madame Butterfly, the title character gives up her culture, religion, and family to marry a man who later abandons her. This statement by Esperanza's mother is a warning to her daughter not to be so foolish as to pin all her hopes for the future on a man.

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