Study Guide

The House on Mango Street Chapter 23

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Chapter 23

Born Bad

  • Esperanza is in big trouble for something she did to Aunt Lupe. Her misbehavior requires religious intervention.
  • Aunt Lupe, her mom's sister, used to be a beautiful swimmer. But she's been sick and bed-ridden as long as Esperanza has known her.
  • Esperanza speculates that disease strikes at random – there's no good reason why someone healthy and beautiful should get sick. Her aunt was just unlucky.
  • After many years of being ill, her aunt's disease seems normal to Esperanza.
  • Esperanza and her friends play a game that's kind of like Charades – one of them pretends to be a recognizable person, and the others guess. Usually they pick famous people, but today they pick Aunt Lupe.
  • Esperanza likes Aunt Lupe. When she visits her aunt, she reads her stories and recites her own poetry. Aunt Lupe encourages Esperanza to keep writing, because writing will "keep [her] free" (23.15).
  • The day Esperanza and her friends imitate Aunt Lupe, Esperanza says they "didn't know she was going to die" (23.16). It seems Aunt Lupe's death happens pretty soon after the girls play the game.
  • Aunt Lupe dies, and the girls begin to dream strange dreams.

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