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Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising


by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Esperanza Rising Chapter 2 Summary

Las Uvas (Grapes)

  • Fast forward six years. Papa hands Esperanza a knife so that she can cut the first ceremonial bunch of grapes in the harvest of 1930.
  • All of the people who live and work at El Rancho de las Rosas, Esperanza's family estate, are gathered for the beginning of the harvest.
  • Esperanza's parents, Ramona and Sixto Ortega, encourage her towards the grapevines.
  • She does it (success!) and brings the first bunch of grapes to Papa. He holds it up for everyone to see, and cries: "¡La cosecha!" "Harvest!" Woo! (Sorry, we're getting into it over here.)
  • Esperanza loves watching the campesinos, or field workers, harvest the grapes.
  • It's also her favorite time of year because, after the grape harvest is over, it's her birthday. And you know what that means—time to party.
  • This year, Esperanza will turn thirteen. Sweet thirteen.
  • Esperanza's friends Marisol, Chita, and Bertina will be at the party. Whenever these girls get together, they can't stop talking about the big parties they'll have when they turn fifteen: their Quinceañeras.
  • The Quinceañeras are basically coming-out parties for the daughters of wealthy families. After these parties, the girls will be old enough to be courted, marry, and become the head of a household.
  • But... let's not think about that right now. Esperanza never wants to leave her Mama and Papa and El Rancho de las Rosas. And anyway, boys have cooties.
  • Three weeks later, Esperanza is gathering roses in preparation for the big party. She pricks her thumb on a nasty thorn, and thinks, "bad luck." Superstitious much?
  • Papa has promised to meet her in the garden, but it's getting dark, and he still hasn't returned from working the cattle. Hmmm.
  • But she knows the next day (the day of the party) will be awesome. First, Papa will serenade her with the traditional birthday song, "Las Mañanitas." Then she'll open her presents, which will surely include a porcelain doll from Papa and some embroidered linens from Mama. Jackpot.
  • In the meantime, Esperanza and her mother worry about a report that there have been bandits in the area. Though the Mexican Revolution is over, there's still a lot of resentment against large landowners like Papa, because many poor people have no land at all. (Check out our discussion of "Setting" for more on the Mexican Revolution.)
  • Sure, Papa is sympathetic to the cause of the poor and has given land to many of his workers. But the bandits probably don't know that.
  • Esperanza goes in to have tea with her grandmother, Abuelita, who is starting to crochet a new blanket.
  • Abuelita insists on teaching Esperanza the pattern to take her mind off of her worry about Papa. Bo-ring.
  • Esperanza tries to copy Abuelita's movements, but her crocheting ends up looking kind of funky. Abuelita to the rescue. She unravels the yarn, telling Esperanza, "Do not be afraid to start over" (2.38). Uh... is it just us, or does it sound like she's talking about more than just yarn?
  • Hortensia, the housekeeper, tells Mama not to worry. Alfonso, Hortensia's husband, and Miguel, their son, have gone to look for Papa.
  • Miguel, who is sixteen, knows the ranch like the back of his hand because Papa always takes him out when he does work.
  • Miguel and Esperanza have played together since they were babies. Esperanza once declared, "I am going to marry Miguel!" Aww.
  • Eventually, though, Esperanza realized that she and Miguel could never get married, because she was the daughter of the ranch owner, and he was the son of a housekeeper.
  • See, here's the deal: Esperanza imagines that there is a river separating her from Miguel. It's deep and wide and probably full of rapids and alligators and fish with sharp pointy teeth. There's no crossing it.
  • One day, Esperanza explains her theory of the river to Miguel. Since then, he hasn't spoken to her much. Esperanza misses him, but she pretends not to care. As it goes with thirteen-year-old girls.
  • Papa's stepbrothers, Tío Luis and Tío Marcos, arrive at the ranch because they've heard Papa is missing.
  • Esperanza and Mama don't like the Tíos. They serve as bank president and mayor of the town, and they think they're pretty hot stuff. But Papa says they love money more than people.
  • Tío Luis shows Ramona a silver belt buckle that one of the cowboys brought him. It's definitely Papa's.
  • Oh no.
  • Esperanza gets really nervous. For the first time in her life, Tío Luis is being nice to her. Something must be really wrong.
  • Finally a wagon comes up to the house. It's driven by Alfonso and Miguel.
  • And—you might want to be sitting down for this—Papa's dead body is in the back of the truck.

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