The House on Mango Street: Novel Summary: The Three Sisters

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Summary:
Three sisters, three aunts, "who [do] not seem to be related to anything but the moon," arrive in the Mango Street community, just after Lucy and Rachel's baby sister dies. Esperanza meets these three strange women when she visits Lucy and Rachel's house to pay her respects. Examining her hands, the sisters tell Esperanza that she will go far. They tell her to make a wish. She does. The sisters promise her that her wish will come true: "We know, we know." One of the sisters tells Esperanza that, when she leaves, she must "remember to come back for the others. for the ones who cannot leave as easily as you."
 
Analysis
In one of the most highly and explicitly symbolic passages in the book, Cisneros evokes the ancient mythological image of the Fates: "in Greek religion and mythology, three goddesses who controlled human lives. Clotho, who spun the web of life; Lachesis, who measured its length; and Atropos, who cut it" (Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, sixth edition). The three women whom Esperanza meets symbolize the Fates; thus, they symbolize Esperanza's destiny. She will leave Mango Street for, readers can only presume, a home of her own-we can assume this is the wish that Esperanza makes-but she will also, in some way-and not necessarily literally-return, "for the others." The sisters' words thus anticipate the novel's conclusion (see "Mango Says Goodbye Sometimes"). They also summarize the tension, throughout the novel, regarding one's identity: one can shape one's identity, but not outside of the experiences and background one cannot choose or change.

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