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The main theme of the book is Esperanza’s increasing maturity. It is in evidence throughout the book, as Esperanza talks to older female characters, trying to determine who her role models will be, or as she overcomes her insecurities and learns about her own strengths and weaknesses.
Home and Identity
Throughout the book, Esperanza attaches meaning to where she lives: she takes it personally as an extension of herself. Thus, the fact that she is unhappy and ashamed at her Mango Street house is a major point of contention in the book, and her dreams of another home parallel her dreams of becoming who she wants to be.
Though it is not discussed directly in the book, love of different kinds, between different characters, holds many relationships together. Family love is contrasted with romantic love, and mistaken ideas about what love is (particularly as concern Marin and Sally) are prominent in the book.
The Mood of the story is highly influenced by Esperanza’s own Mood, and the Mood of the story is uneven to reflect Esperanza’s uneven Moods. When she is happy, as in "Our Good Day," the Mood is joyous, relaxed, and untroubled. When she is frightened or hurt, as in "Red Clowns," the Mood reflects that. Esperanza has a complex personality, so the Mood ranges from childish temper tantrums to solemn thoughtfulness. In general, this indicates Esperanza’s place in the world: intelligent, but not yet fully grown up. The Mood is childish and adult by turns.