In the final chapter of Esperanza Rising, Esperanza tells Abuelita their story “in spans of fruits and vegetables and by what needed to be done to the land.” How does this outline Esperanza’s character arc? How does it demonstrate her status as a dynamic character? Would she have told a personal narrative story differently back when she lived at El Rancho de las Rosas? What if she had never left her beautiful Mexican ranch? What if her father had not died? Would she have been a better person? A more vain person? Explain your understanding of Esperanza as a dynamic character, and tell how her role as a field-worker has shaped her transformation.
In the chapter entitled “Los Higos (Figs)”, Abuelita gives Esperanza a bundle of crocheting. She talks about the zigzag pattern on the blanket she has started. “Look at the zigzag of the blanket. Mountains and valleys. Right now you are in the bottom of the valley… But soon you will be at the top of a mountain again” (page 51). Explain what Abuelita’s metaphor means, in your own words. How does Abuelita’s crochet project help Esperanza through the toughest times in California?
Compare and contrast the two settings in this book. What’s it like at El Rancho de las Rosas near Aguascalientes? What’s it like at the Mexican camp in California? Who are some of the characters in each setting, and how do those characters shape the circumstances in Esperanza‘s life? Which characters are found in both settings, and how do they provide stability for Esperanza in each setting?
Describe the relationship between Miguel and Esperanza in the early chapters of the book. Which character is more likable and why? Who does Miguel remind you of in real life? How does Miguel remind you of that person? Who does Esperanza remind you of in real life? How does Esperanza remind you of that person?
Why does Miguel call Esperanza “mi reina”? Why are Miguel and Esperanza unlikely to be friends when they grow up?
The first page of Esperanza Rising starts with the year 1924. Then, the first chapter, entitled “Las Uvas (Grapes)” says our actual story begins six years later. What year would that be? What was happening in the world at that time? Do a little research in your school library, online, and by asking parents/guardians about this period in history. Write a brief summary of important events that happened during that time period.