Esperzanza Rising is the story of plans gone awry. And boy do we mean awry. As the daughter of a wealthy Mexican rancher, Esperanza looks forward to a future as straightforward as the rows of grapes in her father's vineyards. But that future soon disappears and Esperanza finds herself immigrating to a strange new country where she has no idea what lies around the bend. Her fellow immigrants come to the United States with big dreams and plans to work hard, and despite the many difficulties that Esperanza encounters, she comes to feel that making a new life in the United States is a dream worth having.
Esperanza's goals at the end of the novel are much more awesome than the plans of her twelve-year-old self, because accomplishing them will require lots of hard work, and that's what really counts.
When she has to take on the responsibility of caring for her sick mother, Esperanza becomes an adult—and her dreams become more adult, too, especially compared to her childish dream of getting her wealth back.