The story begins with Esperanza, the protagonist, describing how her family arrived at the house on Mango Street. Before the family settled in their new house, they moved around frequently. The reader develops a sense of Esperanzaâ€™s observant and descriptive nature as she begins the novel with descriptions of minute behaviors and observations about her family members. Though Esperanza's age is never revealed to the reader, it is implied that she is about thirteen. She begins to write as a way of expressing herself and as a way to escape the suffocating effect of the neighborhood. The novel also includes the stories of many of Esperanzaâ€™s neighbors, providing a picture of the neighborhood and offering examples of the many influences surrounding her. Esperanza quickly befriends Lucy and Rachel Guerrero, two Texan girls who live across the street. Lucy, Rachel, Esperanza, and Esperanzaâ€™s little sister, Nenny, have many adventures in the small space of their neighborhood. As the vignettes progress, the novel depicts Esperanza's budding personal maturity and developing world outlook.Esperanza later slips into puberty and likes it when a boy watches her dance at a baptism party. Esperanza's newfound views lead her to become friends with Sally, a girl her age who wears black nylon stockings, makeup, high heels, and short skirts, and uses boys as an escape from her abusive father. Sally, a beautiful girl according to her father, can get into trouble with being as beautiful as she is. Esperanza is not completely comfortable with Sallyâ€™s sexuality. Their friendship is compromised when Sally ditches Esperanza for a boy at a carnival. As a result, Esperanza is sexually assaulted by a man at the carnival. Earlier at her first job, an elderly man tricked her into kissing him on the lips. Esperanzaâ€™s traumatic experiences and observations of the women in her neighborhood cement her desire to escape Mango Street.