Esperanza's relationship with her family provides her with a sense of belonging – even when she does her best to deny it. Like a lot of adolescents, Esperanza doesn't always feel close to her family. She thinks her little sister Nenny is a drag, she rolls her eyes at her parents' long-shot dreams of winning the lottery, and part of her hates going to visit her sick aunt in her smelly old apartment. But every once in a while, Esperanza betrays her feelings of love and connectedness to the people she's related to. Esperanza's connection to her family is a major reason she ends up feeling like she does – at least part of the time – belong to the house on Mango Street.
Though Esperanza inherits an attitude of independence from her mother and paternal great-grandmother, her family's tendency to challenge traditional gender roles does not extend to the men in the family – Esperanza's brothers, in particular, seem to act within the bounds of traditional masculinity, and this prevents Esperanza from being close to them.