Although Esperanza and Nenny don't look like sisters, Esperanza believes they sound alike. Their laughter, for instance, is "all of a sudden and surprised like a pile of dishes breaking."
This brief vignette offers readers a glimpse into the relationship between Esperanza and Nenny. As Esperanza herself pointed out in "Boys & Girls," the two girls are not friends, but they are sisters, and that seems to count for a great deal. The aural "image" Cisneros creates of the sudden and surprised laughter symbolizes the bond between the two. The incident Esperanza relates-how each understands what Esperanza means when she says certain houses "look like Mexico," even though Lucy and Rachel cannot understand-testifies to the connection the two girls share. Their relationship is thus established as a positive one, even if it is not the friend relationship that Esperanza was seeking and, with Lucy and Rachel, has found. Nenny, too, is a part of Esperanza's identity. Esperanza cannot start from a "blank slate" in forging her identity, any more than any adolescent or adult reader of this book can. Our families, to one degree or another, for better or worse, help define who we are.