Esperanza Rising

by

Pam Muñoz Ryan

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Crocheting Symbol Analysis

Crocheting Symbol Icon

“’Ten stitches up to the top of the mountain. Add one stitch. Nine stitches down to the bottom of the valley. Skip one.’” So go Esperanza’s Abuelita’s crocheting lessons, symbolic sessions in which Abuelita attempts to impress upon Esperanza, the importance of seeing that life is a series of peaks and valleys rather than a straight line. There will always be setbacks, pitfalls, and skipped or missed chances and opportunities—nevertheless, perseverance is paramount, and one must never be “afraid to start over.” Throughout the novel, the act of crocheting, and the blankets and scarves Esperanza and Abuelita make both together and apart, serve as symbols of life’s randomness and the importance of both triumph and tragedy in building one’s character and finding one’s place in the world.

Crocheting Quotes in Esperanza Rising

The Esperanza Rising quotes below all refer to the symbol of Crocheting. 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 1 Quotes

“Now watch. Ten stitches up to the top of the mountain. Add one stitch. Nine stitches down to the bottom of the valley. Skip one.”

Esperanza picked up her own crochet needle and copied Abuelita’s movements and then looked at her own crocheting. The tops of her mountains were lopsided and the bottoms of her valleys were all bunched up.

Abuelita smiled, reached over, and pulled the yarn, unraveling all of Esperanza’s rows. “Do not be afraid to start over,” she said.

Related Characters: Esperanza Ortega (speaker), Abuelita (speaker)
Related Symbols: Crocheting
Page Number: 14-15
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 9 Quotes

The blanket grew longer. And Mama grew more pale. Women in the camp brought her extra skeins of yarn and Esperanza didn’t care that they didn’t match. Each night when she went to bed, she put the growing blanket back over Mama, covering her in hopeful color.

Related Characters: Esperanza Ortega, Ramona Ortega / Mama
Related Symbols: Crocheting
Page Number: 161
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 12 Quotes

“Anza, everything will work out,” he said.

Esperanza backed away from him and shook her head, “How do you know these things, Miguel? Do you have some prophecy that I do not? I have lost everything. Every single thing and all the things that I was meant to be. See these perfect rows, Miguel? They are like what my life would have been. These rows know where they are going. Straight ahead. Now my life is like the zigzag in the blanket on Mama’s bed. I need to get Abuelita here, but I cannot even send her my pitiful savings for fear my uncles will find out and keep her there forever. I pay Mama’s medical bills but next month there will be more. I can’t stand your blind hope. I don’t want to hear your optimism about this land of possibility when I see no proof!”

“As bad as things are, we have to keep trying.”

“But it does no good! Look at yourself. Are you standing on the other side of the river? No! You are still a peasant!”

With eyes as hard as green plums, Miguel stared at her and his face contorted into a disgusted grimace. “And you still think you are a queen.”

Related Characters: Esperanza Ortega (speaker), Miguel (speaker), Ramona Ortega / Mama, Abuelita
Related Symbols: Crocheting, The River
Page Number: 223-224
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Esperanza Rising LitChart as a printable PDF.
Esperanza Rising PDF

Crocheting Symbol Timeline in Esperanza Rising

The timeline below shows where the symbol Crocheting appears in Esperanza Rising. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1: Las Uvas (Grapes)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
In the study, Esperanza’s grandmother, her Abuelita, calls Esperanza to her for a crocheting lesson. Abuelita is a frail but distinguished woman who commands the respect—but also the affection—of... (full context)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
Abuelita instructs Esperanza in crocheting, explaining that she must make “ten stitches up to the top of the mountain” and... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Abuelita, Hortensia, and Mama light candles and pray for Papa’s safe return. Esperanza continues crocheting and tries to think of the exciting celebrations tomorrow, but worry keeps intruding. At last,... (full context)
Chapter 3: Los Higos (Figs)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
...weak, and has sustained an injury to her ankle. Abuelita holds up her bag of crocheting—she managed to get it out safely. Esperanza’s family and Miguel’s all huddle together and watch... (full context)
Chapter 4: Las Guayabas (Guavas)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
...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 girl, who accepts the gift happily.... (full context)
Chapter 8: Las Ciruelas (Plums)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
Activism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...Melina, who are mother and daughter, often come over in the afternoons to chat and crochet. One afternoon, Melina tells Esperanza that today is the day of the strike—but everyone from... (full context)
Chapter 9: Las Papas (Potatoes)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
...Mama’s room. Esperanza realizes how badly Mama needs her own mother. That night, Esperanza starts crocheting the unfinished blanket, moving up over mountains and down into valleys. As the days go... (full context)
Chapter 13: Las Uvas (Grapes)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
...outside to where Mama is napping in the shade of a tree, a stack of crocheting materials at her side. Abuelita gently wakes her daughter, and the two embrace tearfully. (full context)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
Esperanza retrieves her grandmother’s blanket from inside and shows her all the crocheting work she has done, then sits down with Abuelita so that they can finish the... (full context)
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
...train station—Miguel stayed by her side the entire trip north. As Esperanza and Abuelita finish crocheting the blanket, she thinks of the “mountains and valleys” they have both traversed during their... (full context)
Wealth, Privilege, and Class Theme Icon
Grief and Loss Theme Icon
Hope and Rebirth Theme Icon
Activism and Solidarity Theme Icon
...At the end of the meal, as dessert is served, Esperanza teaches Isabel how to crochet. Isabel is frustrated with her poor needlework, but Esperanza urges her friend to never “be... (full context)