Esperanza, Rachel, Lucy, and Nenny are jumping rope and discussing women's-and their own still-forming-hips: "One day you wake up and they are there. Ready and waiting like a new Buick with the keys in the ignition." Esperanza discusses hips scientifically (as she did the clouds in "Clouds"), while the other girls have different associations with hips: Rachel says they are useful for holding babies, Lucy says they are necessary for dancing, and Nenny says, "If you don't get them you may turn into a man." Gradually, the girls practice swaying and shaking their hips, all except for Nenny.
This vignette continues the attention paid in "Chanclas" to Esperanza's maturation as a young woman. It also serves, however, to draw readers' attention to the growing gap between Esperanza and her sister. While Esperanza joins Rachel and Lucy in shaking her hips in a still-innocent but also slightly suggestive way (note the rhyme Rachel begins, "Skip, skip/snake in your hips./Wiggle around/and break your lip"), Nenny does not. Notably, she does not "use [her] own song," as Esperanza tells her to; she sings an "old song." She is not making the transition from childhood to adolescence that Esperanza is making; she is, as Esperanza says, perhaps speaking more truth than she knows, "too many light-years away." She is, physically and psychologically, in her own world-the world of childhood that Esperanza and her friends are even now leaving behind. Although Esperanza says that Nenny is "going, going," it is actually she who is moving away.
The House on Mango Street: Novel Summary: Hips