Study Guide

The House on Mango Street Chapter 26

By Sandra Cisneros

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Chapter 26

Edna's Ruthie

  • Meet Ruthie. She's quirky, wears weird clothes, laughs by herself, and likes to play, even though she's a grown-up.
  • Ruthie is Edna's daughter. Edna is the cranky landlady of the apartment complex next door to Esperanza's house.
  • Ruthie seems to have a fear of enclosed spaces – she doesn't like to go into stores with the kids, and if she does, she "keeps looking around her like a wild animal in a house for the first time" (26.4).
  • Ruthie often blurts out non sequitur statements. In the middle of one of Esperanza's jokes, for example, she might comment on the moon or some clouds.
  • One day some of Edna's friends ask Ruthie to go play bingo. Ruthie stands on the front steps, paralyzed by indecision. Eventually the car leaves without her.
  • When Ruthie was young, she had lots of job offers, but she got married instead and moved to the suburbs. Esperanza can't understand why Ruthie is living on Mango Street in her mother's living room when she has a husband and a real house of her own. Ruthie always says she's just visiting, and that next weekend her husband is going to come and take her home. He never does.
  • Ruthie tells Esperanza that she used to write children's books.
  • Esperanza memorizes the poem "The Walrus and the Carpenter" and recites it for Ruthie. When she finishes, Ruthie says: "You have the most beautiful teeth I have ever seen," and goes inside.

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