It's a new day! The sky is blue, the birds are singing, and it's Esperanza's birthday. She awakens to the sound of Papa serenading her with the traditional birthday song...
Until she realizes that Papa has died. She was only dreaming.
It turns out Papa and the men working with him were ambushed while mending a fence at the edge of the ranch.
Esperanza goes downstairs and opens the door to Señor Rodriguez, who is bringing papayas for the party that was supposed to take place that day.
Esperanza has to break the news to Señor Rodriguez that Papa has been killed. Then Hortensia puts the grieving Esperanza back to bed.
Papa's funeral lasts for three days. Esperanza's best friend, Marisol, comes to mourn with her, but nothing can help.
Esperanza and Mama are devastated.
Esperanza avoids opening her birthday presents, but finally Mama insists on it. Papa's gift is a gorgeous porcelain doll in a white dress. It makes Esperanza so sad to think that this is the last gift Papa will ever give her. She can't bear to open any of the other gifts.
Tío Luis and Tío Marco sort through Papa's papers in his office until it seems like they've taken over. They come to the ranch every day, and stay for longer and longer periods of time.
The day the lawyer comes to settle the estate, Tío Luis says to Mama: "You don't look so good in black, baby. Let's get you out of those mourning clothes." Or something like that. Not cool, Luis.
The lawyer tells Mama that Papa left the house and all of its contents to her and Esperanza. Sounds fair, right?
But since it's not customary to leave land to women, Papa left the land to Tío Luis.
Uh oh. This can't be good. Tío Luis is a big jerk, so we know he's not going to be a very nice landlord.
Tío Luis offers to buy the house from Mama for an insultingly low price, but Mama refuses.
So Tío Luis makes Mama another offer. She can keep living on the land—if she agrees to marry him.
No. Way. Tío Luis threatens Mama, reminding her that the house and the grapes are on his land, and that he can make life very difficult for her. What a charmer.
Why does Tío Luis want to marry Mama anyway? (We mean, aside from the fact that she's totally gorgeous, smart, kind and talented. Mama is the total package.)
The thing is, Tío Luis is running for governor, and he knows that with Mama's influence, he can easily win the election.
The lawyer warns Mama to be careful. Tío Luis is a dangerous man.
The grownups have a brainstorming session to decide where they will get the money to keep the house running.
Abuelita has some money in the bank, but since Tío Luis is the bank president, that money is as good as gone.
Since Esperanza's uncles are so powerful, they can make life very difficult for any family that tries to help them. Hmmm.
Esperanza needs a break, so she goes outside to sit in Papa's rose garden.
Abuelita has taught Esperanza that when you make tea from the green part of the rose, the rosehip, you drink the memories of the roses. Cool, huh? Since these roses knew Papa, Esperanza wants to make rosehip tea tomorrow.
As she's sitting there, out comes Miguel. (Swoon!) He sits next to Esperanza and talks to her the way he used to, before things got all awkward with the whole river metaphor. He asks her to point out the roses that Papa planted for each of them when they were children.
Miguel tells Esperanza that if Luis takes over the ranch, he and his family will leave for the United States to work.
Miguel explains that in Mexico, he and his family will always be servants, no matter how hard they work. But in the United States they'll have the chance to become more than just servants.
Esperanza is not happy with this news; she doesn't want to be left behind. Miguel takes her hand to comfort her, and this makes her heart skip a beat. Right on cue, she blushes.
Startled, she pulls her hand away. Uh oh. Now things are awkward again.
Miguel's feelings are hurt. He tells Esperanza she was right—in Mexico, they will always be on opposite sides of the river. Ouch.
That night, Esperanza clutches her new doll and vows never to leave El Rancho de las Rosas. Where else would she go, anyway?
Why did Papa have to die? she thinks.
Esperanza tries to find the dream she has of Papa singing her the birthday song, like she does every night. It's a comforting one, that's for sure.