Esperanza's Development

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Esperanza, the main character in The House on Mango Street, is childish. She has the maturity level of a nine year old.

One aspect of her that proves my claim that she is immature is that she gets awfully emotional over something as small as an ant hole. In the section, “Monkey Garden”, she was upset over how Sally was getting a kiss, according to “I don’t know why, but something inside me wanted to throw a stick. Something wanted to say no when I watched Sally going into the garden with Tito’s buddies all grinning. It was just a kiss, that’s all. A kiss for each one. So what, she said” (Cisneros 96-97). After getting unnecessarily upset over Sally getting supposedly “kissed”, she sets out to “save Sally”. She attempts to do this by taking three sticks and a brick, and preceding to venture off into the garden. This is described in page 97 of The House on Mango Street, “I took three big sticks and a brick and figured this was enough” (97). When she arrives to the location of Sally and Tito’s companions, the confrontation goes like this, “But when I got there Sally said go home. Those boys said leave us alone.” (97). After a hurl of rude comments, she felt “..stupid with my brick.” (97). She then goes onto extreme levels by running away to “the other end of the garden, in the jungle part, under a tree that wouldn’t mind if I lay down and cried a long time. I closed my eyes like tight stars so that I wouldn’t, but I did. My face felt hot. Everything inside hiccupped” (97). In a state of bitterness, she wanted her “blood to stop, my heart to quit its pumping. I wanted to be dead, to turn into the rain” (97). This whole incident depicted in “The Monkey Garden” shows how emotionally unstable she can get. This flows into the personality trait of being immature.

Secondly, another factor of Esperanza's immaturity is her poor decision making. Poor decision making is something that teens cannot control as the teenage brain is in a state of development. As we read through the book, The House on Mango Street, we can make the decision that Esperanza is still growing (intellectually and physically), and we can also infer that she is not too young of age, as she got a job in “The First Job”. Therefore, we can conclude that she is a teen. We can also reach to the bigger conclusion, which is, that because she is a teenager (because of her age), she will make poor decisions. One example of a dreadful decision she made was that she allowed herself to be kissed by an old man in “I thought I would [give him a kiss] because he was old and just as I was about to put my lips on his cheek” (55). She took the decision to kiss the old man, and the old man agreed to it: “he grabs my face with both hands and kisses me hard on the mouth and doesn’t let go” (55). Her decision to allow an old man to kiss her (no mention of any resistance) in that manner when she, herself, described himself as an “older man”, “ older oriental man said hello and we talked for a while about me just starting” (54-55), shows how poor her decision-making skills are. She doesn’t know about the old man’s background (if he had some type of sickness/was part of some criminal gang and this was a plan to lure her into that), yet, she still allowed his lips to touch her lips. Obviously, kissing a stranger is not a good choice at all, which proves my claim of how she is really childish.

And lastly, another way that proves that her brain works like a child is that she gets easily intimidated by someone she doesn’t even know in “Nenny, who thinks she is smart and talks to any old man, asks a lot of questions. Me, I never said nothing to him [owner] except once when I bought the Statue of Liberty for a dime” (20). This shows how unnecessary shy she is here (as the man didn’t even do anything, nor is he handsome! He is old), thus being childish. As we closely observe children/young kids, we see that they are excessively shy, even in front of relatives! Thus, this point proves my argument that shyness has a play in how Esperanza is childish.

In conclusion, Esperanza has the unfortunate trait of being abnormally childish for her age. I have proven my claim with quotes and detailed asserts to back up my quotes. Esperanza’s childish behavior plays an important role in her life, and will continue to affect her and the others around her.