Table of Contents | Message Board | Downloadable/Printable Version
Protagonist / Antagonist
Esperanza, the protagonist, has no real antagonist except, perhaps, herself. The story concerns her journey to maturity. Conflicts in the story often arise because of Esperanzaís misunderstanding of herself. For example, she makes fun of her sick aunt, then realizes how much she values her auntís friendship, and feels terrible about what she has done. Her shyness is another aspect of her immaturity that forces conflict upon her: she wants to be like bolder girls she knows, who have secret meetings with boys, but does not have the courage. Additionally, Esperanza must mature enough to discover her own identity, and understand how the Mango Street she hates so much fits into her life.
The climax comes toward the end of the book, when Esperanza realizes she does not want to imitate any of her friends, opting instead to be her own person. At the same time, she meets the Three Sisters, mysterious aunts of her friends Lucy and Rachel, who tell Esperanza that she is special, and that she must return to Mango Street for the people she leaves behind once she gets out.
The resolution, or outcome occurs in the very last chapter, when Esperanza internalizes the words of the Sisters and decides once and for all that she will finally find her way out of Mango Street, energized by her writing, as she has always wanted. Perhaps more significantly, she now understands the importance of returning, as a way of acknowledging her strength, and the part Mango Street plays in her identity.