by Pam Muñoz Ryan
Esperanza Rising Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
"My father and I have lost faith in our country. We were born servants here and no matter how hard we work we will always be servants. [...] The work is hard in the United States but at least there we have a chance to be more than servants." (3.66)
Miguel is sure that things are different in the United States—land of the free. There, it doesn't matter who you are or how poor you were born. If you work hard, you can be successful. Sounds to us like he's got a strong case of the American Dream.
"I would have worked at the railroad in Mexico [...] But it is not easy to get a job in Mexico. You need una palanca, a lever, to get a job at the railroads."
"I hear that in the United States, you do not need una palanca. That even the poorest man can become rich if he works hard enough." (5.73, 76)
According to Miguel (did you notice that he's involved in a lot of these quotations about Society and Class?), you have to know the right people to get the job you want in Mexico. Basically, it's all about networking. The United States, he thinks, is a place where hard work is the only thing that matters. What do you think, is Miguel right?
Mama had always been so proper and concerned about what was said and not said. In Aguascalientes, she would have thought it was "inappropriate" to tell an egg woman their problems, yet now she didn't hesitate. (5.86)
What's going on here? When Mama and Esperanza were wealthy and living on the ranch, Mama had all sorts of strict rules about how to relate to the lower class. But now that they have lost everything, Mama isn't following these rules anymore. What gives?