By Pamela Munoz Ryan
Cast of Characters:
- Ramona, Esperanza's Mom
- Sixto, Esperanza's Dad
- Abuelita, Esperazna's Grandmother
- Miguel, Son of the servants
- Hortensia, Mother of Miguel, A servant
- Alfonso, Father of Miguel, A servant
- Juan, Isabel's Dad and Alfonsos brother
- Josephina, Isabel's mom and Juan's wife
- Isabel, Son of Juan and Josephina
- Marta, Isabel's friend and Esperanza's bully
- Pepe and Lupe, the babies of Josephina and Juan
Las Uvas, Grapes
In this chapter, the family of Esperanza and the workers are getting ready to harvest the grapes, and also, it's going to be Esperanza's birthday, and she'll turn 13. The family is excited to celebrate, all together the fiestas. Later, Sixto Ortega, said he had to fix the fence with a little help with vaqueros. Papa always promised to come back early, but this time, he didn't arrive early. Ramona and Esperanza are starting to get worried about him, and that's when the bad news spread : Sixto Ortega has died and been robbed by bandits. The wife and the daughter was in despair. Just at the happy moment, Esperanza's father died. It was a disaster, and the family deeply showed their sorrow.
Las Papayas, Papayas
This chapter introduces a new character : Senor Rodriguez. He brang papayas that Esperanza's dad ordered. Esperanza tells him about the catastrophic news that happened just yesterday. Senor Rodriguez was in shock. The funeral for Papa lasted three days, filled of bouquets of roses. Later that day, Tio Luis, and Tio Marco came to Esperanza's home more often. They took care of "Family Business." The lawyer comes and tells the family who owns the house and the ranch. Esperanza's family owns the house, and the profit's from the ranch, but Tio Luis got the ranch property. Tio Luis proposed to Mama. She didn't accept, because she saw Tio Luis as a evil man. Tio Luis enrages with anger, and says that he can make things hard for Esperanza's family. A while later after the discussion, Miguel comes to accompany Esperanza during this tragedy. Esperanza's Papa had planted a flower for both of them. They both said which flower was theirs. It would be a special memory to remember Papa. Esperanza goes up to her room after, trying to think of good memories, but all she could think is why did Papa have to die?
Los Higos, Figs
In this chapter, the house got burned down while Esperanza's family slept. The family escapes, and says that they knew who burned the house down : the Tios. Oddly, the Tios came back during the fire, and they proposed to Ramona, and this time, said that they will build a bigger, and better house, and replant all of the flowers. Ramona said yes, and she had a plan above her sleeve. the family would unite every nigt discreretly to discuss about the plan to flee to California, where there are jobs. Senor Rodriguez would come by to Esperanza's demolishing home, bringing figs for no reason to lower the suspicion of the secret plot, or else they'll be busted by the Tios. Abuelita, couldnt come because during the escape of the fire, she has damaged her ankle, and gotten weak so she went to a place to be healed and healthy.
Las Guayabas, Guavas
This chapter tells the reader that the family of Esperanza are now escaping the wrath of the Tios. The family hid in the wagon filled of guayabas, and fled to America. Hortensia recounts during the wagon ride, tha te family was once robbed, and Miguel saved them. When Esperanza was just 5 years old, Miguel, Hortensia, and Esperanza was once robed by bandits. Esperanza made just a silent sound, and the bandits could've found them, if it wasn't for Miguel. Miguel had a field mouse, and he let the mouse escape from his pocket. The bandits proclaimed that it was the mouse which made the noise, and left the house. The dad congratulated Miguel of his bravery, and brang the kids to a first class train ride. Esperanza and Miguel was in awe. Back to real life, the family arrives at a train station. The family had to take the lowest class train because they had no money now and was't recognized as rich people, but as peasants.
Los Melones, Cantaloupes
The family reaches the border of Mexicali. They pass the border sucessfully. Alfonso sees their relatives, Juan and Juan's wife, Josephina. They have children, Isabel, and the babies Pepe and Lupe. The family and relatives traveled with a truck, and another truck passed by, filled with cantaloups. It was harvested, and the cantaloups were being sent to the market. The group stopped in one of the cantaloupe fields to grab some leftover cantaloupes and take home for free. The group soon reaches to the camp, and Esperanza meets Isabel. Isabel introduces her friend, Marta. Marta judges about Esperanza's father, since he was a land owner. Isabel, changing the subject, says where Marta lives and where they live.
Las Cebollas, Onions
Esperanza arrives to the camp, she learns about the chores she has to do. She has to broom, and clean the diapers of the babies. Isabel is shcoked to know, and now she has to teach Esperanza how to do chores. Esperanza goes to the sheds to tidy it up, but she has trouble cleaning the onion skins, and making it neat like Hortensia's pile. Instead, it flew everywhere. Marta and some other women laugh at her and shouting "Cinderella!"
Las Almendras, Almonds
Las Ciruelas, Plums
In this chapter, Esperanza is alone in the cabin, and has no help doing her chores. Esperanza gave the babies, Pepe and Lupe raw plums. The raw plums made the babies sick, and have a stomach ache. Esperanza served rice with water to make the babies feel better. Unexpectedly, there was a dust storm. Esperanza was worried about the others, and soon the family arrived from the fields, and Isabel came from her school. Mama returned coughing, and which made her feeling awfully sick. She reassures that she is fine, but Esperanza and Hortensia know she really isn't. Hortensia made chicken soup with lots of garlic to make Mama feel better, and when Esperanza said that dinner is ready, Mama didn't wake up from her sleep. Hortensia calls a doctor, and the doctor says that Ramona might be sick with the valley fever for 6 months, if she survives. This concerns Esperanza in a bad way.
Las Papas, Potatoes
Because of Mama's sickness, Mama has to go to the hospital. Esperanza would visit her a lot of times. After learning that Mama has depression now, Esperanza now has to be brave and take the leader role while her Mama is sick. Esperanza will work for 3 weeks, cutting potato eyes, like Hortensia, to pay the doctor bills. While she is working, the rest of the women working talks about upcoming Christmas. Marta's aunt was there, too. Hortensia talks to Marta's aunt, about the strikes. Her aunt didn't approve with Marta point about striking. Another day, Esperanza meets her mother in the hospital. Esperanza tells Mama that she will be the patrona, the leader of the family now.
Los Aguacates, Avocados
After a long day of work, Esperanza's hands are wrinkled and was filthy. With the help of Hortensia, Esperanza used avocado cream to make her hands feel more soft, and not making it look like a old man's hands. Later that day, Esperanza has received worse news about her mom. Mama has gotten worse, because she has caught pneumonia after the Valley Fever. The nurse said that Esperanza can't visit Mama for a month, or long because she might catch bad diseases. Later outside the hospital, Hortensia told Esperanza and Miguel to buy some supplies in the Japanese market, because the other markets discriminate the Mexicans and think of them as dirty, unskilled, and poor. Esperanza bought a piñata filled with caramels for Mama, and Miguel bought food. While returning to their camp, they pass by Marta and her mother, Ada. Ada and Marta were kicked out of their camp since they are strikers and they have to go to a different camp for money now. When Ada and Marta got off their trail, Esperanza and Miguel met a family which haven't eaten in two days. The father couldn't even buy food for his family, so Esperanza gave the man beans. The father said gracias, and left to their camp. A few nights later, Miguel has gotten a railroad job now, so he can get extra money too. Esperanza noticed that Miguel's eyes were dancing when he got applied, just like Papa's eyes.
Los Espárragos, Asparagus
Esperanza, Josefina and Hortensia boarded a flatbed truck, going to the direction of the asparagus fields, to pack the vegetables. During their ride, they see a large group of strikers, along side the road. The truck quickly passed the violence, and headed to the fields. After a long day of packing asparagus, they returned to their cabin. Esperanza rests uneasily, thinking about the strikers movements, and then falls asleep. After that day, while they are driving to the fields, the road was empty. No more strikers, no more shouting. The strikers were obliged to enter in a bus and return to Mexico. The camp was relieved. In the fields, Esperanza was getting some bands to tie the asparagus, and then she find Marta, huddled in a corner where she can't be seen. Marta begs for help, and Esperanza denied to help her at first, but then thinking about Marta and her mother being separated made her say yes for helping Marta. She gave her some burlap bags of rice, and clothing that workers wear. Marta thanks Esperanza, and leaves as if she was a worker, so she couldn't get detected by the immigration officers.
Los Duraznos, Peaches
In the cabin, Isabel says that she doesn't like the vegetables, but the only thing she likes is peaches. Esperanza also likes peaches and agrees with her. Miguel soon enters in the cabin, and Miguel states that he has been fired from the railroad job, and the boss hired Oakies who will work for less money, and some of them don't even know how a motor functions. Now, Miguel has been assigned to dig ditches, and Esperanza becomes furious. She says that it's discrimination that the railroad owner chose the Oakies over Miguel to work for the railroads. Esperanza stomps out of the cabin, and Miguel chases after her, saying that it's better having a job, than none. Esperanza then says to Miguel that he can't stand up for himself and calls him a peasant. Miguel got enraged hearing this, and leaves Esperanza all alone by herself. Regretting what she just called Miguel, she goes to the hospital with Hortensia and receives good news. Mama has gotten better, and she can exit the hospital now, she just needs to rest to get better. The family prepares the celebration of Mama returning home, and greets her a 'warm welcome back home.' When it's time to sleep, Esperanza tells Mama that she made Miguel run away because she called him a peasant. Mama said that its not entirely her fault, and to change the subject, Esperanza tells her mom that she saved money for over a year now to bring Abuelita back, and she'll show her savings to Mama. She grabs a valise, opens it, but to her surprise, she finds nothing in the suitcase.
Las Uvas, Grapes
The family knows that Miguel ran away with the money to travel to Nouthern California. Esperanza is angry with Miguel for stealing money which wasn't his. Later, the family receives a letter from Miguel that he wants to meet on a bus station at 3 o'clock. The family goes to the bus station, at the right time. They see a bus coming, and Miguel exits the bus. Miguel exits the bus with nothing, but with a special visitor. He brang back Abuelita with the money Esperanza saved for a year. Abuelita told Esperanza's family how she arrived here, and the journeys she encountered to enter in California. She said that it was all possible by Miguel. A few days later, it's Esperanza's birthday, and she'll turn 14. The birthday will be better than the birthday when Esperanza turned 13. The family sings to her, and meanwhile, while Esperanza is celebrating her birthday, Abuelita teaches Isabel how to crochet. Isabel's first try was all zig - zagged, but Abuelita then said...