Esperanza’s days are filled with grief and mourning. Everyone comes
to pay their respects to Papa. Tío Luis and Tío Marco come
each day to take care of business in Papa’s study.
A lawyer comes to talk to Mama about Papa’s will. He has left the house and the income from the grapes to Mama and Esperanza. However, Papa left the land to Tío Luis since he is the bank president and the banker on the loan. Tío Luis tells Mama that he wants to buy the house from her because he wants to live on the beautiful land that he now owns. Mama is outraged by Tío Luis’s offer because she does not want to leave her home and it is worth much more that he offers. Tío Luis tells Mama that he thought she would refuse his offer; he asks her to marry him instead. Mama tells him that she will never marry him and that she is offended by his offer. Tío Luis tells Mama that she will regret her decision and leaves.
That evening Mama discusses the situation with Abuelita, Hortensia and
Alfonso. She decides that if the income from the grapes can support the
house and servants she will stay. Abuelita says she has money in Tío
Luis’s bank, but they all know he will prevent her from taking it.
Esperanza goes outside and meets Miguel. Miguel tells her that his family will probably go to the United States because her uncles are unfair men and his family will not work for them. When Miguel takes Esperanza’s hand, she gets nervous and pulls it away. Miguel is offended and leaves.
Esperanza goes to bed, hugging the doll her father bought for her birthday.
Notes- In this chapter the main conflict becomes more developed. It is apparent that the uncles are not going to let Esperanza and Mama live in peace. Something will happen. Tío Luis and Tío Marco become clearly defined as the antagonists. The antagonist of a story is the force that provides an obstacle for the protagonist. In this case, the brothers work collectively to destroy Esperanza’s lifestyle.
Esperanza is shaken from her sleep by shouts that her home is on fire.
No one can find Abuelita as the run outside. Miguel runs back into the
burning house and emerges, carrying Abuelita.
The next day the brothers come to the ranch. Tío Luis proposes to Mama again. This time she tells him that she will consider his proposal, much to Esperanza’s dismay. When Esperanza objects, Tío Luis tells Mama that if they marry Esperanza will be sent to boarding school.
Later Mama tells Esperanza that she has no intentions of marrying Tío Luis. Alfonso tells them that he and his family are going to the United States. Mama asks if she and Esperanza could come too. Esperanza is worried about Abuelita, who has injured her ankle in the fire. She is also scared to start over in a new country. Abuelita tells Esperanza that she can stay with her sisters who are nuns in a convent until she is better, when she will meet them. Abuelita tells Esperanza that she will be able to start over, just as Abuelita had to do as a girl.
The next day Abuelita’s sisters come for her. Abuelita gives Esperanza her unfinished zigzag blanket and tells her that they will meet again after many mountains and valleys. The nuns provide Esperanza and Mama with travel documents and clothes. Mama tells Tío Luis that she will marry him in due time. She requests a wagon to visit Abuelita. Tío Luis promises he will get her one right away. A few nights later, Mama, Esperanza, Hortensia, Alfonso and Miguel leave under the cover of darkness.