The character of Esperanza had to live through a transfer of cultures, and she found it hard to adjust. This was her childhood of displacement. Displacement is a word for being out of place, or being thrown out of place. Esperanza had no place; she was alone even in her own new home on Mango Street. But, unlike her neighbors and family, Esperanza was ready to break away from the traditional beliefs and customs of Mango Street. Her goal was to pursue personal happiness, and to make a successful life for herself. Many things worked against Esperanza, things like race, neighborhood, and tradition.
Esperanza was Hispanic, raised by a Mexican family. She never had nice clothes. In her opinion, she was following in the footsteps of her mother. Her mother bitterly resents her past. "You want to know why I quit school? Because I didn't have nice clothes. No clothes, but I had brains. Yup, she says disgusted, stirring again. I was a smart cookie then" (Cisneros 91). The rest of her family is only lightly covered in the book. Esperanza had a large family. She had 2 sisters and a brother. The sisters were Nenny and Kiki, and the brother's name was Carlos. Kiki was the youngest, and .
Esperanza was the oldest. Like most Hispanics, the family was tightly bonded. Mama and Papa frequently dreamed of a new house, but Esperanza knew dreams were just dreams.
Esperanza was also at the mercy of a bad neighborhood. She thought it was fine, but later in the book she was sexually assaulted at a fair. People who judged her by her town frequently frustrated Esperanza. She was often ashamed of her house. It was a small brick house, which was crumbling and very ugly. This ugliness was one of the center points of The House on Mango Street. A nun, who represented high society, met her in front of her apartment in Loomis. The nun recognized Esperanza from school and asked her where she lived. She said, "You live there?" ( Cisneros 5 ), pointing to the third floor.