"Esperanza Rising," Vocabulary from Chapters 1-4

January 29, 2014
What happens when you lose everything you thought you could call your own? The main character in Pamela Muñoz Ryan's "Esperanza Rising" has had her life turned upside down by a death in the family and a journey from Mexico to California during the Great Depression. How this girl copes with these changes will determine not just her own future, but her family's as well.

Learn these word lists for the novel: Chapters 1-4, Chapters 5-7, Chapters 8-10, Chapters 11-14
He gently touched a wild tendril that reached into the row, as if it had been waiting to shake his hand.
The short blade was curved like a scythe, its fat wooden handle fitting snugly in her palm.
This job was usually reserved for the eldest son of a wealthy rancher, but since Esperanza was an only child and Papa’s pride and glory, she was always given the honor.
The campesmos, the field workers, spread out over the land and began the task of reaping the fields.
Esperanza preferred to think, though, that she and her someday-husband would live with Mama and Papa forever.
Tomorrow was her birthday and she knew that she would be serenaded at sunrise.
Papa and the men who lived on the ranch would congregate below her window, their rich, sweet voices singing Las Mananitas, the birthday song.
In the dusky light, she walked around the courtyard to the back of the large adobe and wood house.
“Bad luck,” said Mama, confirming the superstition, but she half-smiled.
They both knew that even though it was 1930 and the revolution in Mexico had been over for ten years, there was still resentment against the large landowners.
She looked very distinguished, wearing a respectable black dress, the same gold loops she wore in her ears every day, and her white hair pulled back into a bun at the nape of her neck.
But Esperanza loved her more for her capricious ways than for her propriety.
The tops of her mountains were lopsided and the bottoms of her valleys were all bunched up.
He loved the land as Papa did and it had been the two of them, working side by side, who had resurrected the neglected rose garden that had been in the family for generations.
Miguel would look at her and before riding off with Papa, he would give her a taunting smile.
Distracted, Mama paced at the window, each step making a hollow tapping sound on the tile floor.
They tried to pass the time with small talk but their words dwindled into silence.
But those thoughts would only stay in her mind for a moment before transforming into worry, because she couldn’t ignore the throbbing soreness in her thumb where the thorn had left its unlucky mark.
She fell to her knees and sank into a dark hole of despair and disbelief.
Her smile faded, her chest tightened, and a heavy blanket of anguish smothered her smallest joy.
Papa and his vaqueros had been ambushed and killed while mending a fence on the farthest reaches of the ranch.
In front of the adults, Esperanza modeled Mama’s refined manners, accepting Marisol’s condolences.
Mama did not answer but maintained her composure.
You will regret your decision, Ramona. You must keep in mind that this house and those grapes are on my property. I can make things difficult for you.
“But he could build another house, bigger and more pretentious anywhere on the property,” said Mama.
“But be careful. He is a devious, dangerous man.”
“There are rumors in town that Luis intends to take over the ranch, one way or another. Now that it seems true, we will probably leave for the United States to work.”
Their overripe sweetness now pervaded the air with each breath of wind.
Esperanza stood in the middle of it all, watching the outline of her home silhouetted in flames against the night sky.
The flames ran along the deliberate rows of the vines, like long curved fingers reaching for the horizon, lighting the night sky.
Avoiding the smoldering piles, she picked through the black wood, hoping to find something to salvage.
She was looking up, as if consulting the angels.
You would have to depend on the charity of others, and they would be afraid to help you.
You have your papers but ours were lost in the fire and they forbid anyone to enter without a visa.
This will be a great insult to Luis. If he finds out, he will prevent you from leaving the territory.
Esperanza was quiet and stared at the dirt, hiding the smirk on her face.
And those clothes, Ramona! They are not fitting for a woman of your stature, and Esperanza looks like a waif.
Esperanza held a valise filled with clothes, a small package of tamales, and her doll from Papa.
Then Mama took a determined breath and headed toward the sprawling trees.
She hurried after Mama, knowing that she might never come back to her home again, and her heart filled with venom for Tio Luis.

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Wednesday February 12th 2014, 4:13 AM
Comment by: ☯KUNG FU MASTER☯ (Australia)
could you write one about Skulduggery Pleasant?

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