Esperanza, her mom, her grandma, and her servant who she is close with (named Hortensia) are waiting anxiously for her dad because he still has not returned. Hortensia's husband and son are looking for Esperanza's father. They eventually found him but he was dead.
When Esperanza and everyone else arrived in America they went to stay where Alfonso's brother (Juan), Juan's wife (Josefina), and Juan's kids (one is named Isabel) live. They stay at these work camps in Los Angeles. Today is the first day of working and Esperanza has really never worked in her life and she doesn't even know how to sweep. Today Isabel will be there to help her babysit, but eventually Isabel will have to go to school.
"Don't worry so much. Alfonso and Miguel will find him."
"Must we always crochet to take our minds off of worry"?
Where is papa?
There was a very bad dust storm which is why Esperanza's mom's clothes and skin are darker because she is covered in dust. She eventually gets really sick because dust is in her lungs and she has to be hospitalized. After a few months she gets better.
Their house is on fire and burns down. They are pretty sure that is was Esperanza's uncle because he wanted to marry her mom after his brother died, but her mom refused.
Esperanza, her mom, Miguel(servants son), Hortensia(servant), and Alfonso(servant) are on a train going to America from Mexico, to escape Esperanza's uncles. On the train, Esperanza's mom is talking to some random stranger and telling them all their business. Esperanza is upset because her mom would have never done that before and now she is calling Esperanza and herself peasants. Esperanza is just not used to living this lifestyle and not being rich.
"What was wrong with her? Had all of mama's rules change since they had boarded this train?"
"Do you think it is wise to tell a peasant our personal business".
"It is alright, Esperanza, because now we are peasants too."
"I am fine, mija," she said coughing
"Aqui estoy. I am here, mi nieta. How I have missed you."
Miguel brought Esperanza's grandma to Los Angeles and she is very happy because it has been months since she has seen her.
"You and Isabel will be watching the babies while the rest of us work. Alfonso and Juan will be picking grapes and Hortensia, Josefina, and I will be packing grapes..."