Esperanza Rising Study Guide

Las Cebollas, Onions

Esperanza is introduced to her new home. Isabel shows her how they must use a public toilet, which she considers a luxury because in some camps all they have is a ditch. Esperanza also sees the small cabin they will have to share. When Esperanza complains about their living conditions to Mama, Mama reminds her that if they had stayed in Mexico they would have been separated. Later Isabel comes in and asks Esperanza what it was like to be rich. Esperanza lies and tells Isabel that she is still rich. She says they are waiting for Abuelita to come with her money.

The next morning Esperanza learns that she must help Isabel with Pepe and Lupe and sweep the platform in the camp. Esperanza is upset because she wanted to help pack grapes. When the adults go to work, Isabel teaches Esperanza how to change and wash diapers. Later, Esperanza goes to the platform. Although she has never even held a broom before, she is determined to learn how to sweep on her own. As she tries, other workers pass by her and call her names. She is humiliated and runs home. At home, Miguel comforts her and shows her how to use a broom. Esperanza remembers that Miguel went to the railroad to look for work and asks if he was successful. Miguel is frustrated because he knows how to fix any engine, but they will only hire Mexicans to dig ditches. He decides to work in the fields until he can get a better job at the railroad.

Esperanza promises to tell Isabel all about her life as a rich girl if Isabel will teach her to do all the things she cannot.

Notes- Esperanza begins to learn about all the hard work involved with living on a camp. She is used to having servants do everything for her, but now she must learn to do it alone.

Here we also see how Mexicans face prejudice in the United States. Miguel is a hard worker and skilled with engines; however, because he is Mexican, he is only allowed to dig ditches.

Las Almendras, Almonds

After dinner Miguel and Alfonso tell Mama and Esperanza that they have a surprise for them. Behind the cabin they have built a shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe and surrounded it with Papa?s roses. After the fire, Alfonso and Miguel dug down to the roots of the singed roses, which were still healthy. They stopped when ever they could during the journey to California to water them.

The next morning the women take baths in the cabin. Esperanza is used to having Hortensia bathe her, and lifts her arms so Hortensia can undress her. Mama tells Esperanza that she is old enough to bathe herself now. That evening is the jamaica and everyone at the camp prepares for it.

At the jamaica, everyone is nicely dressed. There is food and music. Many people come from other camps. While some girls are looking at a box of kittens, Marta starts an argument about striking. Many men yell back at her.

Back in the cabin, Josafina explains to Esperanza why Marta is so angry. Josafina describes how Marta and others want to fight for better living conditions. As they go to sleep Mama and Esperanza talk about what they miss about living in Mexico.

Notes- After the last chapter, which focused on the difficulties of living at camp, this chapter shows how there are also good times. Act of kindness, like the shrine that Alfonso and Miguel build, are priceless. Esperanza has fun getting ready for the jamaica with the women. She also enjoys the party. However, Marta?s outburst at the party reminds them all that trouble could strike at any moment.

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