| Quote #7
They are bad those Vargases, and how can they help it with only one mother who is tired all the time from buttoning and bottling and babying, and who cries every day for the man who left without even leaving a dollar for bologna or a note explaining how come. (13.2)
The misbehavior of the Vargas children has an explanation that's rooted deeply in social problems – they misbehave because their mother is too poor and overworked to discipline them. She's poor and overworked because her husband abandoned her. The problem is complex, and doesn't have an easy solution.
| Quote #8
And anyway, a woman's place is sleeping so she can wake up early with the tortilla star, the one that appears early just in time to rise and catch the hind legs hide behind the sink, beneath the four-clawed tub, under the swollen floorboards nobody fixes, in the corner of your eyes. (14.1)
This sentence combines two social challenges that make life difficult for the women in Esperanza's community – prescribed gender roles that place them in the kitchen doing domestic work, and an environment of poverty and decay.
| Quote #9
That one? She said, pointing to a row of ugly three-flats, the ones even the raggedy men are ashamed to go into. Yes, I nodded even though I knew that wasn't my house and started to cry. (18.11)
Why does the Sister Superior at Esperanza's school assume Esperanza lives in a run-down tenement apartment? Why does Esperanza agree and say that she lives there?