She highlights significant or telling moments in their lives, mostly moments that show their the difficulties that they experience, such as when Louie's cousin was arrested for stealing a car or when Esperanza's Aunt Lupe dies.
The house is in the center of a crowded Latino neighborhood in Chicago, a city where many of the poor areas are racially segregated.
For example, she gets a job at a photo shop, and a fellow employee kisses her on the mouth her first day. She goes to a baptismal party for a baby cousin and dances with her uncle. Those that do follow a conventionally linear pattern tend to flatten that pattern ironically.
Now Sally has married a young man she met at a school function, and he makes her stay in their house and won't let her friends visit. She lists several possible choices, settling eventually on Zeze the X.
Most of the stories are non-traditional in structure, following a non-linear shape in which the narrator "circles" around her or his topic, examining it from various angles and in various times.
All of the pieces are serious; many are very funny, too. The house on Mango Street is an improvement, but it is still not the house that Esperanza wants to point out as hers. The family had dreamed of a white house with lots of space and bathrooms, but the house on Mango Street has only one bedroom and one bathroom.
She refuses to seek out a man to "escape," because she has seen too many neighbors unhappy in marriage. Esperanza is disappointed by the red, ramshackle house.