a framework that supports climbing plants
Leafy green vines draped the
arbors and the grapes were ready to drop.
slender structure by which some plants attach to an object
He gently touched a wild
tendril that reached into the row, as if it had been waiting to shake his hand.
an edge tool for cutting grass
The short blade was curved like a
scythe, its fat wooden handle fitting snugly in her palm.
gather, as of natural products
The campesmos, the field workers, spread out over the land and began the task of
reaping the fields.
sing and play for somebody
Tomorrow was her birthday and she knew that she would be
serenaded at sunrise.
come together, usually for a purpose
Papa and the men who lived on the ranch would
congregate below her window, their rich, sweet voices singing Las Mananitas, the birthday song.
sun-dried brick used in hot dry climates
In the dusky light, she walked around the courtyard to the back of the large
adobe and wood house.
establish or strengthen as with new evidence or facts
“Bad luck,” said Mama,
confirming the superstition, but she half-smiled.
a feeling of deep and bitter anger and ill-will
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.
standing above others in character or attainment
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.
determined by chance or impulse rather than by necessity
But Esperanza loved her more for her
capricious ways than for her propriety.
But Esperanza loved her more for her capricious ways than for her
having one side lower or smaller or lighter than the other
The tops of her mountains were
lopsided and the bottoms of her valleys were all bunched up.
lacking a caretaker
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.
harass with persistent criticism or carping
Miguel would look at her and before riding off with Papa, he would give her a
having the attention diverted especially because of anxiety
Distracted, Mama paced at the window, each step making a hollow tapping sound on the tile floor.
become smaller or lose substance
They tried to pass the time with small talk but their words
dwindled into silence.
a hard substance used for making soap and candles
It wasn’t until the candelabra held nothing but short stubs of
tallow that Mama finally said, “I see a lantern. Someone is coming!”
a state in which all hope is lost or absent
She fell to her knees and sank into a dark hole of
despair and disbelief.
extreme distress of body or mind
Her smile faded, her chest tightened, and a heavy blanket of
anguish smothered her smallest joy.
wait in hiding to attack
Papa and his vaqueros had been
ambushed and killed while mending a fence on the farthest reaches of the ranch.
an expression of sympathy with another's grief
In front of the adults, Esperanza modeled Mama’s refined manners, accepting Marisol’s
in a pensively sad manner
Her porcelain face looked
wistfully at Esperanza with enormous eyes.
impinge or infringe upon
At first, they stayed only a few hours, but soon they became like la calabaza, the squash plant in Alfonso’s garden, whose giant leaves spread out,
encroaching upon anything smaller.
steadiness of mind under stress
Mama did not answer but maintained her
a feeling of righteous anger
A look of
indignation passed between Mama and Abuelita.
creating an appearance of importance or distinction
“But he could build another house, bigger and more
pretentious anywhere on the property,” said Mama.
characterized by insincerity or deceit
“But be careful. He is a
devious, dangerous man.”
have in mind as a purpose
“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.”
spread or diffuse through
Their overripe sweetness now
pervaded the air with each breath of wind.
an outline of a solid object as cast by its shadow
Esperanza stood in the middle of it all, watching the outline of her home
silhouetted in flames against the night sky.
carefully thought out in advance
The flames ran along the
deliberate rows of the vines, like long curved fingers reaching for the horizon, lighting the night sky.
save from ruin, destruction, or harm
Avoiding the smoldering piles, she picked through the black wood, hoping to find something to
get or ask advice from
She was looking up, as if
consulting the angels.
a kindly and lenient attitude toward people
You would have to depend on the
charity of others, and they would be afraid to help you.
a smile expressing smugness or scorn instead of pleasure
Esperanza was quiet and stared at the dirt, hiding the
smirk on her face.
a homeless child especially one forsaken or orphaned
And those clothes, Ramona! They are not fitting for a woman of your stature, and Esperanza looks like a
a small overnight bag for short trips
Esperanza held a
valise filled with clothes, a small package of tamales, and her doll from Papa.
spreading out in different directions
Then Mama took a determined breath and headed toward the
a feeling or spite, ill will, or maliciousness
She hurried after Mama, knowing that she might never come back to her home again, and her heart filled with
venom for Tio Luis.