Esperanza Rising

by

Pam Muñoz Ryan

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Alfonso Character Analysis

The boss of all the field-workers on El Rancho de las Rosas and Sixto’s close friend and companion. Alfonso has a sad, moody appearance, but is enthusiastic and kind on the inside. He once restored a neglected rose garden on the property to its former glory, and he and Sixto often work side-by-side as equals despite the fact that Alfonso is, essentially, the Ortega family’s servant. After El Rancho de las Rosas burns to the ground in the wake of an attack by Luis and Marco, Alfonso offers to bring Ramona and Esperanza to work alongside him and his family on a company farm in California, where his brother Juan and sister-in-law Josefina have worked for years. Alfonso and Hortensia’s kindness, hospitality, and generosity towards Ramona and Esperanza in their time of need show that they are more than servants—they are family.

Alfonso Quotes in Esperanza Rising

The Esperanza Rising quotes below are all either spoken by Alfonso or refer to Alfonso. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Scholastic edition of Esperanza Rising published in 2000.
Chapter 2 Quotes

“My father and I have lost faith in our country. We were born servants here and no matter how hard we work we will always be servants. Your father was a good man. He gave us a small piece of land and a cabin. But your uncles . . . you know their reputation. They would take it all away and treat us like animals. We will not work for them. The work is hard in the United States but at least there we have a chance to be more than servants.”

“But Mama and Abuelita . . . they need . . . we need you.”

“My father says we won’t leave until it is necessary.” He reached over and took her hand. “I’m sorry about your papa.”

His touch was warm and Esperanza’s heart skipped. She looked at her hand in his and felt the color rushing to her face. Surprised at her own blush, she pulled away from him. She stood and stared at the roses.

An awkward silence built a wall between them. She glanced quickly at him. He was still looking at her, with eyes full of hurt. Before Miguel left her there, he said softly, “You were right, Esperanza. In Mexico we stand on different sides of the river.”

Related Symbols: The River, Papa’s Roses
Page Number: 36-37
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 4 Quotes

Mama looked at Esperanza. “I don’t think it would have hurt to let her hold [the doll] for a few moments.”

"Mama, she is poor and dirty . . . ” said Esperanza.

But Mama interrupted. "When you scorn these people, you scorn Miguel, Hortensia, and Alfonso. And you embarrass me and yourself. As difficult as it is to accept, our lives are different now.”

The child kept crying. Her face was so dirty that her tears washed clean streaks down her cheeks. Esperanza suddenly felt ashamed and the color rose in her face, but she still pushed the valise farther under the seat with her feet and turned her body away from Mama.

Related Characters: Esperanza Ortega (speaker), Ramona Ortega / Mama (speaker), Alfonso, Hortensia, Miguel
Related Symbols: The River
Page Number: 70
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 8 Quotes

“What will we do tomorrow?” asked Esperanza.

“The grapes are higher off the ground,” said Alfonso. “The trunks of the vines are covered but the fruit was not affected. The grapes are ready and cannot wait. So mañana, we will go back to work.”

The next morning, the sky was blue and calm and the dust had left the air. It had settled on the world, covering everything like a suede blanket. Everyone who lived at the camp shook out the powdery soil, went back to work, and came home again, as if nothing had happened.

Related Characters: Esperanza Ortega (speaker), Alfonso (speaker)
Page Number: 152
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 11 Quotes

Esperanza lay in bed that night and listened to the others in the front room talk about the sweeps and the deportations.

“They went to every major grower and put hundreds of strikers on the buses,” said Juan.

“Some say they did it to create more jobs for those coming from the east,” said Josefina. “We are lucky the company needs us right now. If they didn’t, we could be next.”

“We have been loyal to the company and the company will be loyal to us!” said Alfonso.

“I’m just glad it’s over,” said Hortensia.

“It is not over,” said Miguel. “In time, they will be back, especially if they have families here. They will reorganize and they will be stronger. There will come a time when we will have to decide all over again whether to join them or not.”

Related Characters: Alfonso (speaker), Hortensia (speaker), Miguel (speaker), Juan (speaker), Josefina (speaker), Esperanza Ortega
Page Number: 210
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 13 Quotes

On the morning of her birthday, Esperanza heard the voices coming from outside her window. She could pick out Miguel’s, Alfonso’s, and Juan’s.

She sat up in bed and listened. And smiled. Esperanza lifted the curtain. Isabel came over to her bed and looked out with her, clutching her doll. They both blew kisses to the men who sang the birthday song. Then Esperanza waved them inside, not to open gifts, but because she could already smell coffee coming from the kitchen.

They gathered for breakfast: Mama and Abuelita, Hortensia and Alfonso, Josefina and Juan, the babies and Isabel. Irene and Melina came, too, with their family. And Miguel. It wasn’t exactly like the birthdays of her past. But it would still be a celebration, under the mulberry and chinaberry trees, with newborn rosebuds from Papa’s garden.

Related Symbols: Papa’s Roses
Page Number: 251-252
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Esperanza Rising LitChart as a printable PDF.
Esperanza Rising PDF

Alfonso Character Timeline in Esperanza Rising

The timeline below shows where the character Alfonso appears in Esperanza Rising. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Las Uvas (Grapes)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
...plate of sandwiches for Abuelita, Esperanza, and Mama, and urges them not to worry—her husband Alfonso and son Miguel have ridden out to the edge of the ranch to search for... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Miguel is Hortensia and Alfonso’s sixteen-year-old son, and he and Esperanza have been friends all their lives. Esperanza is frequently... (full context)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hours later, there is still no sign of Alfonso, Miguel, and Papa. A pair of riders approach, but it is only Tío Luis and... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...wagon comes into view. As the wagon comes closer, it is clear that Miguel and Alfonso are driving it—and that there is a body in the back, covered in a blanket.... (full context)
Chapter 2: Las Papayas (Papayas)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...alone in her parents’ bed, and recalls the horrible events of the previous evening. After Alfonso returned home with Papa’s body, he told Esperanza and Mama that Papa and his vaqueros... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
That evening, Mama, Abuelita, Esperanza, Hortensia, and Alfonso discuss what they should do. Abuelita has money in the bank—though Luis would probably prevent... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
...United States to work—there is no room for social advancement in Mexico, and even if Alfonso and Hortensia did try to make a life for themselves on the small piece of... (full context)
Chapter 3: Los Higos (Figs)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...their mouths. As they run downstairs, Mama screams that no one can find Abuelita, but Alfonso urges them to hurry—the house is being enveloped in thick smoke. (full context)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...has done—Ramona tells Esperanza, though, that she knows what she is doing, and hurries her, Alfonso, Hortensia, and Miguel back into the cabin so that they can talk privately. (full context)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
Inside, Mama and Alfonso discuss what options the Ortegas have. If they choose to stay on the ranch in... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...takes a small valise filled with clothes and her porcelain doll from Papa. Miguel and Alfonso lead them through the burnt grape rows to the Rodriguez ranch. At the edge of... (full context)
Chapter 4: Las Guayabas (Guavas)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Two days later, Esperanza, Mama, Hortensia, Alfonso, and Miguel at last arrive in Zacatecas. As Esperanza stretches while waiting for the train,... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...Quietly, Ramona tells Esperanza that when she scorns “these people,” she scorns Miguel, Hortensia, and Alfonso, too. Mama takes out her crocheting bag and makes a yarn doll for the little... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
At each stop the train makes, Miguel and Alfonso hurry off with a mysterious package, and then hurry back on just before the train... (full context)
Chapter 5: Los Melones (Cantaloupes)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
...them through. While the two of them wait to be reunited with Miguel, Hortensia, and Alfonso, they watch as many people are sent back across the border because of problems with... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
...train ride, Esperanza wakes up to find that they have all arrived in Los Angeles. Alfonso excitedly points out the window. His brother Juan and his wife Josefina have come with... (full context)
Chapter 6: Las Cebollas (Onions)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
...a small cabin with two rooms, and Esperanza asks if this is theirs or Hortensia, Alfonso, and Miguel’s—Ramona explains that they will all share this cabin together. As Mama begins unpacking,... (full context)
Chapter 7: Las Almendras (Almonds)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
...cooking with the other women, and Esperanza lends a hand, too. After dinner, Miguel and Alfonso tell Ramona and Esperanza that they have a surprise to show them. They follow the... (full context)
Chapter 11: Los Espárragos (Asparagus)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Activism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...to them. That night at dinner, Esperanza and the other women compare their days with Alfonso, Juan, and Miguel’s—their workdays, too, were affected by the strike. (full context)
Activism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...long as no one catches them doing anything harmful or illegal, their campaign will continue. Alfonso states that things will soon get better, but Miguel thinks they’ll get worse—workers from desperate... (full context)
Chapter 13: Las Uvas (Grapes)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
Everyone agrees that Miguel must have taken the money orders. Alfonso promises to repay the money, but Esperanza remains angry with Miguel for disrespecting all her... (full context)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
Esperanza, Hortensia, and Alfonso ride down to Los Angeles in the heat to await Miguel’s arrival. When his bus... (full context)