Ezperanza Rising
Pam Muñoz Ryan
Contributed by Katlyn Weinert
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Chapter 13

Esperanza is distraught by the disappearance of her money, especially since Miguel is the only person who knew her hiding spot. Most of all, Esperanza is disappointed that she will not be able to bring Abuelita to California. Then, one day, when Esperanza is sorting peaches, Alfonso comes to take her to the bus station.

Esperanza and Alfonso watch Miguel get off of the bus from Los Angeles - with Abuelita. Esperanza is overjoyed to be reunited with her grandmother. Abuelita explains that Miguel snuck her out from under the watchful eyes of Tío Luis and Tío Marco. When they return to camp, Esperanza introduces Abuelita to the rest of the family. Shortly thereafter, Mama and Abuelita have a happy, tearful reunion.

Esperanza shows Abuelita the knit blanket, which she has almost finished. Abuelita tells Esperanza the story of how Miguel was able to sneak her away from Tío Luis and Tío Marco. Esperanza recounts the past year of her life, marking time by growing seasons rather than months.

Shortly before her 14th birthday, Esperanza begs Miguel to drive with her to the foothills so that they can watch the sunrise. As she watches the sun come up, Esperanza can feel herself rising again. She soars over everything she has known for the past year, feeling revived and reborn like a phoenix emerging from the ashes. Once again, Miguel’s hand brings her back down to earth. Together, they listen to the heartbeat of the earth and Esperanza feels at peace.

Esperanza wakes up on the morning of her birthday to the sound of singing voices outside her window. Though the celebration is not as grand as the ones she used to have, Esperanza feels elated. The novel closes with Esperanza teaching Isabel how to crochet, giving the younger girl the same advice Abuelita had once given Esperanza when her stitches came out crooked: “Don’t be afraid to start over.”


The novel is cyclical, just like the growing seasons, and the end is similar to the beginning. Both the first and last chapters take place during the grape season, showing that within one year, Esperanza’s life has come full circle. Mama recovers and Abuelita finally escapes from Mexico, meaning that the Ortega family has completed the transition to their new life in the United States.

Additionally, Abuelita’s prophecy that she and Esperanza will be reunited comes to fruition. The older woman correctly predicted that Esperanza would experience many ups and downs before they would see one another again. Also, Abuelita is able to finish the blanket that she started - while Esperanza filled in the middle parts. This is symbolic of the fact that Abuelita is present only at the beginning and end of the novel. In her absence, Esperanza needs to step in and take care of Mama when she becomes ill.

Esperanza has made the transition from young, naive princess to mature young woman with the help of many people - Mama, Abuelita, Miguel, and Isabel, among others. Now, she is the one offering wisdom and support to Isabel. She teaches Miguel to listen to the earth, just as Papa had once taught her. Esperanza has learned from others and parlays her maturity into supporting those who need her, like Mama.

Even though Abuelita and Papa shared their most important pieces of advice with Esperanza over a year ago, she can only embrace their wisdom once she has experienced hardships herself. On her 13th birthday, she could barely comprehend the meaning of struggle as she waited for her favorite fruits to be delivered and her birthday presents to appear. By her 14th birthday, however, Esperanza’s hands are calloused from picking fruits for others - but she is finally able to understand the power of her elders’ words.

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