Society and Class Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
They [the campesinos] were covered top to bottom, in long-sleeved shirts, baggy pants tied at the ankles with string, and bandanas wrapped around their foreheads and necks to protect them from the sun, dust, and spiders. Esperanza, on the other hand, wore a light silk dress that stopped above her summer boots, and no hat. (2.3)
One big clue that Esperanza and the workers on her father's ranch are in two separate social classes? Their clothes.
"Change has not come fast enough, Esperanza. The wealthy still own most of the land while some of the poor have not even a garden plot. There are cattle grazing on the big ranches yet some peasants are forced to eat cats. Papa is sympathetic and has given land to many of his workers." (2.25)
The question of who got to own land was a real hot button issue in Mexico in the early 1900s. (For more on this, read about the Mexican Revolution in our section on "Setting.") Esperanza's dad is a wealthy landowner, but that doesn't make him a bad guy—he's sympathetic to the cause of the landless poor, and gives away land to some of his employees.
But now that she was a young woman, she understood that Miguel was the housekeeper's son and she was the ranch owner's daughter and between them ran a deep river. Esperanza stood on one side and Miguel stood on the other and the river could never be crossed. (2.52)
Even Esperanza feels the disconnect between her (ranch owner's daughter) and Miguel (housekeeper's son). No matter how good lookin' and handy he is, Esperanza won't give him a second look.