Study Guide

The House on Mango Street Chapter 39

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Chapter 39

Red Clowns

  • Esperanza begins this chapter by accusing Sally of having lied to her about sex. Sex didn't turn out to be anything like the way Sally told it, or like it is in the movies.
  • Esperanza was waiting for Sally by the tilt-a-whirl at the carnival, but Sally never showed up. She had gone somewhere with a "big boy," and never came back.
  • A group of boys starts to bother Esperanza. One grabs her by the arm, says, "I love you, Spanish girl," and kisses her (39.3).
  • Some more stuff happens, but Esperanza doesn't want to remember it. We suspect that one of the boys in the group rapes her.
  • Again, Esperanza accuses Sally, and all the books and magazines that talk about sex, of having lied to her. Her experience with sex involved dirty fingernails against her skin and a stranger's sour smell.

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