by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Esperanza Rising Perseverance Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"We are like the phoenix," said Abuelita. "Rising again, with a new life ahead of us." (4.70)
The phoenix is a mythical bird that dies in a burst of flames and then is reborn from its own ashes. (Cool, right? Check out our discussion of this in "Symbols, Imagery, Allegory" for more.) Here, Abuelita uses it as a symbol of the family that builds a new life after their old one is destroyed—that's perseverance at its best.
"Look at the zigzag of the blanket. Mountains and valleys. Right now you are in the bottom of the valley and your problems loom big around you. But soon, you will be at the top of the mountain again. After you have lived many mountains and valleys, we will be together." (4.76)
Oh, Abuelita, you're so wise. Here she tosses us yet another metaphor for the difficult journey that Esperanza is about to begin. Notice how it always comes back to the family being together.
"It is the same for everyone," said Josefina. "When you first start in the sheds, the body refuses to bend, but in time, you will get used to the work." (8.3)
Farm labor is no cake walk; this is some seriously difficult work. The women's bodies are achy and sore when they get home, but they get up the next day and do it all over again.