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The idea of home and houses are central to The House on Mango Street, as you may have noticed when you read the section "What's Up With the Title?" and our discussion of houses under "Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory." Esperanza's major challenge in this novel is to overcome her feelings of isolation and experience a sense of belonging, which is another way of saying she needs to feel at home. For Esperanza, it's important both to have a home that she can point to as a way of explaining a past that she can be proud of, and to have a vision of a home in her future – something to inspire her.
Esperanza's relationship with her family provides her with a sense of belonging – even when she does her best to deny it. Like a lot of adolescents, Esperanza doesn't always feel close to her family. She thinks her little sister Nenny is a drag, she rolls her eyes at her parents' long-shot dreams of winning the lottery, and part of her hates going to visit her sick aunt in her smelly old apartment. But every once in a while, Esperanza betrays her feelings of love and connectedness to the people she's related to. Esperanza's connection to her family is a major reason she ends up feeling like she does – at least part of the time – belong to the house on Mango Street.