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Miguel grows up on the ranch of Esperanza's Papa. Miguel has a knack for fixing just about anything which means we have a knack for Miguel. Sigh.
Miguel and Esperanza are besties, but when Esperanza reminds Miguel that they belong to different social classes (smooth, E), he stops joking around with her.
After Esperanza's Papa dies, things get better between the two friends.
Miguel tells Esperanza that he wants to go to the U.S., because in Mexico he'll never be anything more than a servant. In the U.S., he'll have an opportunity to work his dream job as a railroad mechanic.
Once they're in California, Miguel and Esperanza get in a huge fight. Bottom line: Esperanza is tired of his optimism. Miguel always insists that things are going to get better, but Esperanza doesn't see how.
Miguel takes Esperanza's money and disappears. He tells his parents he's gone north to look for a railroad job, but when he returns to California, he's got Abuelita with him. Our hero.
Miguel takes Esperanza to the hills to watch the sunrise, and she teaches him how to listen to the earth. They hold hands. We say "aww."