| Quote #7
He said it was his birthday and would I please give him a birthday kiss. I thought I would because he was so old and just as I was about to put my lips on his cheek, he grabs my face with both hands and kisses me hard on the mouth and doesn't let go. (21.7)
Esperanza's initiation into kissing is by force. This seems like an ominous prelude to her initiation into sex.
| Quote #8
Everything is holding its breath inside me. Everything is waiting to explode like Christmas. I want to be all new and shiny. I want to sit out bad at night, a boy around my neck and the wind under my skirt. (28.5)
Esperanza starts to express her own sexual yearnings. She's still not sure what Sire and his girlfriend do together, exactly, but thinking about it fills her with energy and makes her feel "all new and shiny."
| Quote #9
Who was it that said I was getting too old to play the games? Who was it I didn't listen to? I only remember that when the others ran, I wanted to run too, up and down and through the monkey garden, fast as the boys, not like Sally who screamed if she got her stockings muddy. (38.9)
In some ways, Esperanza still considers herself a kid – she still feels like she belongs to a realm in which gender doesn't matter very much. She wants to run and play "fast as the boys." Sally serves as a foil to Esperanza here. By contrast, she seems grown up and fully integrated into the gendered world of adulthood.