Pam Muñoz Ryan’s award-winning novel Esperanza Rising is a powerful book to introduce into your middle school classroom. The story of a young girl’s journey from a prosperous ranch in Mexico to the growing fields of California, Esperanza Rising is a tale of overcoming difficulties and, above all, of the power of a family’s love. Ryan’s book is based on the true life experiences of her grandmother, and seamlessly works the cultural and historical realities of 1930s life into the plot. The novel explores issues of belonging, identity, and respect. It also provides context for discussions about immigration, prejudice, and fair trade. Ryan brings it all to life with vivid imagery and figurative language.
Esperanza Rising Literary Conflict - Esperanza Rising by Pam Munoz Ryan
Character vs. Man
You will regret your decision... I can make things difficult for you. Very difficult.
Character vs. Self
Character vs. Nature
Character vs. Society
Tio Luis causes a serious conflict for Esperanza and her mother when he demands that Mama marry him or else... When she refuses, Tio Luis burns down their house and vineyard.
Esperanza struggles to go on when things get difficult. After Mama goes to the hospital, Esperanza cries every night and is not sure she has the inner strength to keep fighting to survive.
Nature is in conflict with Esperanza when a dust storm arises. The high winds and thick dust make it difficult to breathe and cause Mama to get sick with Valley Fever.
As a Mexican immigrant during the Great Depression, Esperanza, her family, and friends face prejudice from the white Americans. The Mexican company camps are poorly built and Mexican workers are often fired from jobs when white workers need the money.