House on Mango Street

The Three Sisters

The three sisters are some old ladys are very wise

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This chapter begins with the death of Lucy and Rachel's baby sister. At the funeral, Esperanza meets "las comadres" or the three strange and mysterious old sisters who "had the power and could sense what was what." Without any warning, the old ladies inquire her name and examine her hands; they then tell Esperanza to make a wish. They promise that the wish will come true, and then "the one with marble hands" calls her aside and teachers her an important lesson. Esperanza learns that her ties are a circle and that, although she will leave Mango Street, she must return for those who cannot escape as easily. As if in answer to Esperanza's insecurities, the mystical woman tells Esperanza that she cannot forget what she knows, which is Mango Street, nor her identity, which is linked to her name. After she promises to return to her roots, Esperanza joins her playmates and never sees these mysterious women again.


Once again, Cisneros gives us vibrant portraits of interesting characters; such as the old women who are "thin as a spider web and barely noticed" Indeed, the use of language is special because it perfectly depicts how only a special child such as Esperanaza would observe "three who did not seem to be related to anything but the moon."

This chapter's theme is superstition and the cultural value of mysticism. For example, the baby's approaching death is symbolized by the crying dog and the flight of a yellow bird through an open window. The old ladies predict Esperanza's good fortune based on the luck of her name and the power revealed in her palms.

So too, the fortune they predict for Esperanza is noteworthy. Although the themes of home and name are common in this story, in this chapter we learn that while Esperanza's dream will come true, she must accept a new responsibility of completing the circle. Thus, in subsequent treatment of self-creation through a new home and name, we will see that Esperanza is unable to escape ties of heritage and duty to Mango Street.