The House on Mango Street: Novel Summary: Elenita, Cards, Palm, Water

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Summary
Esperanza visits the "witch woman" Elenita, who gives Esperanza a tarot reading. While Elenita interprets the cards to mean that Esperanza will go to a wedding and "lose an anchor of arms"-as though this interpretation is entirely self-evident-Esperanza is interested in knowing whether she will have a new house (see "The House on Mango Street"). Elenita tells her she foresees in Esperanza's future "a home in the heart. A new house, a house made of heart."
 
Analysis
Cisneros deftly writes this vignette in such a way that readers are led to suspect that Esperanza may not have much faith in Elenita's ability to read the future. For example, the narrative switches back and forth between Elenita's invocations of los espiritus and the all-too-mundane realities of Elenita's life-furniture covered with plastic because of the baby, getting up to hit and hug her children in order to stop their fighting. Esperanza, too, is torn between her interest in the tarot reading and the Bugs Bunny cartoon playing in the background on the television set. Despite the (apparent) "make-believe" of the reading (from a reader's perspective, not from Elenita's), however, Elenita does (prompted by Esperanza) speak a truth that readers will see come to pass by the novel's conclusion: that Esperanza will, in fact, discover-or create-a new home. She will, in other words, realize her own identity.

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