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Esperanza Rising

Esperanza Rising

by Pam Muñoz Ryan

Analysis: Writing Style

Straightforward and clear; Careful and considerate; Detailed and descriptive

Our author sure isn't trying to hide anything. With her straightforward sentences, it's pretty clear that she really wants us to understand what she's trying to say. And that's helpful, since she's writing about some pretty complicated parts of American history.

Think about the farmworkers' strike against the cotton farmers. It's a complex and controversial historical event that even the workers couldn't all agree on. But Pam Muñoz Ryan tackles the issue, breaking it down so that we can understand it from every point of view. She carefully considers the desperation of the poorest workers ("'Yesterday I worked all day and made less than fifty cents and I cannot buy food for one day with that'" [11.76]), the motivation of the strikers ("'Of course I need my job, but if all the workers join together and refuse to work, we might all get better conditions'" [6.101]), and the anxiety of the workers who do not strike ("She wanted to tell them that her mother was sick. That she had to pay the bills. [...] Then maybe they'd understand why she needed her job" [12.8]). Because of all of this straightforward info, we're able to form our own opinions about the strike. Just like Esperanza.

Muñoz Ryan also includes tons of descriptive details that make us feel like we're really inside Esperanza's head. For example, instead of just telling us that Esperanza misses Mama when she's in the hospital, she writes,

She missed her way of walking into a room, graceful and regal. She missed watching her hands crocheting, her fingers moving nimbly. And most of all, she longed for the sound of Mama's strong and assured laughter. (11.9)

These surprising and intimate details let us feel the love that Esperanza has for her mom. And because these details last throughout the book, we're also able to feel the love that Muñoz Ryan has for Esperanza.

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