A whole bunch of women serve as guides or mentors to Esperanza while she's growing up on Mango Street. There's Alicia, who studies a lot and goes to college – she tells Esperanza interesting things about biology, and consoles her when she's feeling sad. Esperanza's Aunt Lupe tells her to keep writing, while her Mama encourages her to stay in school.
Sally is a different kind of guide. Though she's no older than Esperanza, she's more experienced when it comes to all the trappings of femininity, and Esperanza asks Sally to teach her how to apply makeup. Sally also knows more about sex than Esperanza, but in this matter she fails to provide Esperanza with an accurate road map – Esperanza's first sexual experience is nothing at all like what Sally said it would be.
The Three Sisters pop up at the end and act as guides in a sort of spiritual way. They are the first to confirm Esperanza's hopes that she will leave Mango Street, and they extract a promise from Esperanza to return one day. In this way they're sort of like Esperanza's conscience – they're the voice of social responsibility.