Lesson Plan

Esperanza Rising: Learning Not to Be Afraid to Start Over

Mexican woman farm laborer picking tomatoes in a California field, 1938.
Photo caption

Mexican woman farm laborer picking tomatoes in a California field, 1938. These were the very same circumstances and times that Esperanza lived and worked in as a child.

When Esperanza is a young girl learning with difficulty to crochet, her grandmother unravels all of her rows and advises, "Do not be afraid to start over." Although Esperanza does not realize it at the time, this advice will become her guiding principle as she learns to confront some of life's harsher realities.

A Spanish-language edition Esperanza Renace is also available.

Guiding Questions

What challenges must Esperanza overcome when she leaves her home in Mexico to live in the United States?

What is the source of Esperanza's "hope" for happiness?

Why does Esperanza's story resonate today?

How do familial relations influence how we view and interact in the world?

Learning Objectives

Analyze and identify the structural elements of the novel and how they contribute to meaning.

Use specific examples from the text to support interpretations of the story.

Situate the novel in historical context and explore connections between literature and history.

Draw upon text-based evidence and interpretation of historical documents to analyze the novel and understand the historical context of the Mexican Revolution and Great Depression

Draw connections between the historical fiction in the novel and the present day, focusing on immigration and the experience of immigrants to the United States