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Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising


by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Analysis: Plot Analysis

Most good stories start with a fundamental list of ingredients: the initial situation, conflict, complication, climax, suspense, denouement, and conclusion. Great writers sometimes shake up the recipe and add some spice.

Initial Situation

Everything's Coming Up Roses

On El Rancho de las Rosas (The Ranch of Roses) in Aguascalientes, Mexico, Esperanza is surrounded by people who adore her. And as the daughter of the ranch owner, she has it pretty good. She has beautiful silk dresses, plenty of servants, and a party thrown in her honor every year. Consider the lavish setting set.


Tragedy Strikes (we had a feeling it would)

When Papa is murdered by bandits, Esperanza and her Mama have to flee the clutches of his evil stepbrothers. They decide to start a new life as farm laborers in the United States, working alongside their former servants. Something tells us Esperanza is in for a reality check.


It's the Hard Knock Life

When Mama gets sick with Valley Fever, things just get that much more… well, complicated. Esperanza is pretty much on her own at this point.


Esperanza Takes Charge

The turning point of the story occurs when Esperanza really takes charge. She's a totally new person, completely in control. She takes care of her mom, starts to work on the farm, and is kind and generous to all the people surrounding her. Talk about a complete 180.


Miguel Skips Town

After their big fight, Miguel disappears with all of Esperanza's savings. Huh? Something is up, but we have no idea what. When will he be back? How could he steal from Esperanza like that?


Reunited (and it feels so good)

The denouement is meant to tie up loose ends and answer many of our questions. So when Miguel shows up at the bus station with Abuelita, we know we're in the right place—everything suddenly makes sense. Plus, with Abuelita back in town, we're pretty sure things are looking up.


New Dreams

Now that Esperanza's family is reunited, she feels hopeful again. In other words, esperanza (hope) has risen. Yep. She knows it will take a lot of hard work, but she dreams of learning English, supporting her family, and maybe even buying a house someday. This is a totally new girl than the one we met back in Mexico a year before.

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