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Esperanza Rising
Esperanza Rising
by Pam Muñoz Ryan
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Antagonist

Character Role Analysis

A Whole Lot of Forces, Including Esperanza

Esperanza and her family encounter so many conflicts in this story that it's hard to identify who (or what) exactly is getting in the way of Esperanza's success as a character. Here are just a few examples:

  • The bandits who murder Esperanza's father create a conflict—and a major tragedy—for Esperanza to begin with.
  • The immigration officials who round up and deport Mexican strikers (including U.S. citizens) represent the injustice that Esperanza sees in the world around her.
  • The strikers who put rattlesnakes in the workers' boxes are making it difficult for Esperanza to do her job and make the money she needs to support her family .

But even with all these forces at work, we kind of think that Esperanza is an antagonist to herself. Hear us out. The whole book is about Esperanza maturing and coming to terms with many difficult issues in society. And it is Esperanza who gets in the way of this task all the way through.

How many instances can you find when Esperanza gets in her own way?


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