Esperanza Rising

Emilie Mullison, author

In the novel, Esperanza Rising, the main character, Esperanza, grows from being a spoiled rich girl to a hardworking, responsible young lady.  

Esperanza does not handle her life challenges well at the beginning of the novel. Esperanza’s first impression of the train is it is in very bad condition and she refuses to even go in the car. For example, on page 67, Esperanza says, “we can not travel in this car, it is not clean and the people do not look trustworthy.” Esperanza seems scared and doesn’t understand that she is one of the peasants.  While Esperanza was on the train a little peasant girl came running up to her reaching for her expensive porcelain doll.  On page 69, she jerked the doll away from the peasant girl and hid it under the vacies this shows how esperanza is acting spoiled and greedy and is still used to her old rich life. Carmen and Mama start talking and Esperanza is concerned that Mama is talking about their personal life to a peasant and stranger. Esperanza handles her struggles by being pessimistic and unhappy about the situation. 

Later in the novel, Esperanza starts to face her challenges by being more optimistic. Mama’s sickness has affected Esperanza by making her more independent and hardworking.on page 161 the blanket grew longer and Mama grew sicker. And Esperanza is growing to be more selfless while taking care of Mama. When meeting the Campesino family  made a change of heart for Esperanza and a change of way on page 194 Esperanza did a good deed and  gave beans to the Campesino  family the text says “Do you have food so that I can feed my family?” Said the father. “We got kicked out of our camp for striking. My family has not eaten in two days.” Esperanza reached into the truck bed and opened a large bag of beans and put it in his hat.  Later in the novel, Marta is hiding from the sweep because she needs to stay with her mom. Marta says on page 208, “Please Esperanza I need to stay with my mother.” Esperanza is helping Marta so she can stay with the person she loves. In conclusion, Esperanza has a fixed mindset but throughout the challenges in the novel, she has learned to be selfless and respectful to all of the people. 

In all Esperanza has changed and grown since the beginning of the novel. In the beginning, Esperanza’s father got killed and her family had to move away from her home and grandmother. This shows Esperanza has been through heartbreaking times in her life. At the end of the novel, Esperanza has been growing ever since Mama got sick and had to get money for Abuelita to come home. The lesson they have learned over time was the ups and downs and different sides of the river.