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Esperanza prays in the rose garden at the shrine of Our Lady of Guadalupe every day. She prays not only for Mama and Abuelita, but also for Marta and her mother.
Lately Isabel has been praying in the garden, too.
Isabel wants to be Queen of May at her school. Every year, the teacher chooses the female student with the highest grades to be the Queen.
This year, the only student with straight As is Isabel, but Isabel's friends have told her that the queen is usually an English-speaking girl who wears nicer dresses.
So Isabel is going to pray every day that she gets to be the Queen, even though she speaks Spanish and wears old clothes.
Josefina tells Esperanza that Isabel's chances aren't good. They always choose a blonde, blue-eyed queen. Last year a Japanese girl had the highest grades, but she didn't get to be queen.
A week later, Esperanza is still packing asparagus. And Isabel is still dreaming of being Queen of May.
Isabel tells Esperanza that the farm is building a new camp for workers from Oklahoma. The new camp will have inside toilets, hot water, and a swimming pool.
The Mexican workers will be able to use the swimming pool one day a week, the afternoon before the pool is cleaned. This bugs Esperanza. Do the farmers think the Mexicans are dirtier than the other workers?
Miguel comes home covered in dirt. Some new workers from Oklahoma took his job at the railroad because they were willing to work for less money. So Miguel had to dig ditches.
Esperanza loses her temper and storms out of the cabin. Miguel follows her into the vineyard.
Get ready. This is where Esperanza finally lets off some steam.
Isabel and Miguel are being treated unfairly because they're Mexican. They work for pennies and live in horrible conditions. And workers who strike to get better treatment are rounded up and deported, even if they are U.S. citizens. Is this really the land of opportunity that Miguel was expecting?
Miguel argues that in Mexico, he would always have been a second-class citizen, no matter how hard he worked. At least here he has a small chance of becoming more than he was.
Esperanza wants Miguel to confront his boss and stand up for himself.
Hmm, she's beginning to sound like one of the strikers.
Miguel says he just needs to work hard and be patient. Like Esperanza's Papa used to say, "Aguántate tantito y la fruta caerá en tu mano."
Papa's familiar words make Esperanza cry.
Esperanza's life used to be simple and straightforward. Like the rows of grapes in the vineyard, she knew where she was going. Now her life looks more like the zigzag pattern in Abuelita's blanket.
Esperanza can't stand Miguel's optimism and hope anymore. She wants proof that things will get better.
Esperanza tells Miguel what's on her mind: he's stupid to be so optimistic. He's still a peasant.
Ouch, Esperanza. That was a little harsh.
Miguel doesn't let her get away with that insult. He says Esperanza still thinks she's a queen. The next morning, Miguel is gone.
He told his father he was going north to look for railroad work.
Esperanza feels like Miguel's sudden departure is her fault. She adds Miguel to the list of people she has to pray for in the garden.
It's peach season, and Esperanza brings home a bag for Isabel. It's an important day, and she wants to have a special treat for her.
Isabel wasn't chosen as Queen of May. She cries, and Esperanza tries to think of a way to make her feel better, so she gives her the beautiful doll that she got from her Papa. The title of Queen of May lasts only one day, but this doll will last for much longer.
Esperanza says that Isabel should take the doll to school. None of the other students, not even the Queen of May, has ever owned anything so beautiful.
The doll cheers Isabel up a lot. That was pretty thoughtful of Esperanza, if you ask us.
The doctor says that Esperanza's mom gets to come home from the hospital in a week. There couldn't be better news if she asked for it.
Mama must be feeling much better because she's asking for crochet needles and yarn.
Mama tells Esperanza that she has grown and that she looks very mature. She is so proud of Esperanza for working, cooking, and learning to take care of the babies.
Mama is going to need lots of rest, so the family prepares the cabin for her homecoming.
They catch Mama up on all the news. Papa's roses are blooming, and Isabel proudly shows Mama how she is taking care of the doll.
That night, Mama holds Esperanza tightly.
Esperanza tells Mama that Miguel is gone, and she's afraid it's her fault. But Mama reassures her that Miguel won't be able to stay away from his family for long.
Speaking of which, Esperanza and Mama have been separated from Abuelita for almost a year.
Esperanza announces to Mama that she has been saving money to bring Abuelita to California. But when she goes to show Mama how much she has saved, the valise is empty.