The House on Mango Street: Novel Summary: Cathy Queen of Cats

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Summary
Esperanza makes the acquaintance of a neighbor girl named Cathy who claims to be a descendant of the Queen of France and who lives with "cats and cats and cats" in her house. Cathy tells Esperanza who in the neighborhood she should avoid, including "[t]wo girls raggedy as rats who live across the street." She says she will be Esperanza's friend, but "only till next Tuesday," when she is moving away.

Analysis: Cathy is the first person Esperanza tries to befriend (see "Boys & Girls"), but Cathy is leaving Mango Street. Her belief-well-founded or not, readers never learn, but we are probably supposed to infer that the belief is wishful thinking at best, delusional at worst-that she is French royalty proves a strange counterpoint to Esperanza's dreams of a "real house," a home. Esperanza's dream is understandable and probable, but, by being placed into close proximity with Cathy's wild dream of grandeur, Esperanza's dream, too, seems absurd. Cisneros may be using the juxtaposition of these two dreamers to comment on the way in which the majority members of a society tend to unjustly dismiss the hopes and aspirations of the minority members-for, as the vignette's last sentence informs us, Cathy is moving away because "people like us"-that is, Hispanics; more generally, non-Caucasians-"keep moving in."

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