Esperanza's Aunt Lupe used to be beautiful like Joan Crawford, until she was struck down by a mysterious disease that left her bedridden and blind. Aunt Lupe is confined to her dirty, yellowing apartment, where Esperanza and her friends work up the nerve to visit her. Esperanza likes her Aunt Lupe because she listens to her poems and encourages her to keep writing. When Esperanza and her friends get caught making fun of Aunt Lupe and her illness, they feel horrible – and then Lupe dies. Esperanza is pretty much convinced that she's going to hell.