At the beginning of the story, readers learn about a girl named Esperanza whose life has always been unstable and has always been moving from house to house constantly.
Benumbed by all the hardships she’s had to deal with Esperanza longs to live in a beautiful house of her own.
Children in Esperanza’s neighborhood never play with the opposite sex, and the only friend Esperanza has is her little sister, whom she is ashamed to be seen with.
Discouraged and degraded, Esperanza goes through life labeling herself as being uglier than everyone else; the only way she can make a friend is by giving two girls called Rachel and Lucy, five dollars to buy a new bike.
Esperanza likes the way her name sounds in Spanish, but dislikes her name in English, she is always ashamed to tell people her name.
Frozen in a life of poverty, Esperanza befriends a girl called Marin, who dances under streetlights at night and dreams of a man to marry her and take her away to live in the barrio.
Gullible foreigners who get lost and travel to Esperanza’s neighborhood always fear getting assaulted because of its appearance; only the inhabitants of the neighborhood know the truth about everyone who lives there.
Hopelessly meek, Esperanza always allows people to run over her mentally and emotionally, she only says yes to all the negative comments said to her by Rachel, Lucy, and the Superior Sister at her school. Inspired by her own life a girl named Alicia whose mother has died, overloads herself studying, going to school, and taking the role of a mother for her siblings and father in order to escape the life of poverty that seems to be destined for all Latino families.
Jumping and playing, the neighborhood kids all look at clouds to entertain themselves with, one kid even calls a cloud he sees God,
Kinky and grown, the girls receive a pair of high heeled shoes that fit them all perfectly; these shoes cause the girls to be warned about trouble, and cause them to receive sexual comments about themselves.
Later on in the story, Esperanza’s mother buys her a new dress but no new shoes, this causes Esperanza to not want anyone to see her, but she dances with her uncle and catches the attention of a young boy.
Moved by her family, Esperanza gets a new job while lying about her age, she befriends a coworker and ends up kissing him.
Now frightened, Esperanza learns that her grandfather has died and sees her father cry for the first time.
Obliged to believe she’s going to hell, Esperanza makes fun of her aunt one day, then find out that she has died the next day.
Prior to going home one day, Esperanza gets her fortune read and is told that she is filled with jealousy, sorrow, and cares solely about luxury.
Quarreling with the police Marin meets a man at a club who is then hit in a car accident and dies at the hospital because no one was able to treat him.
Receiving her first crush, Esperanza admires a neighborhood punk called Sire.
Sealed to an unwanted life, a mother who has just moved in speaks no English and is condemned to isolation because she yearns to return to her home country.
Tortured by her husband, a woman named Rafaela is locked in her own home and cannot leave because her husband fears she’ll leave him.
Unusually beautiful, a girl named Sally is beaten by her father because he doesn’t want her to bring shame to his family by getting pregnant and running off with a boy, just like her sisters did.
Violently betrayed, Esperanza is sexually assaulted when she is left alone by Sally at a carnival.
Waken up, Esperanza realizes Sally willingly seeks men to escape her father, and never really cared about Esperanza the way Esperanza was faithfully loyal to her.
Xenon colored heart, Esperanza blames her trauma on women because they never told her the truth about sexual intercourse.
Y oung and still traumatized, Esperanza realizes that whether she likes it or not, Mango street is always going to be her home, and she learns about the true, horrid experience that women have to go through. Zoo like experiences change the narrator forever and she promises to always return to Mango Street and save those who couldn’t save themselves.