Sally admits that her father hits her, but she says that he never hits her hard. She comes to school bruised and scarred and says that she fell, but everyone knows the truth. Sally’s father is afraid that she’ll run away with a man and shame the family just like his sisters did. One time Sally tries asks to come and stay with Esperanza and her family. She brings over a bag of clothes and food from her mother, but that night her father knocks on the door, crying and apologizing. Sally goes back with him and everything is okay for a little while, but then one day Sally’s father sees her talking to a boy and he beats her so badly she misses school for two days. Sally says he went crazy and forgot she was his daughter, and he switched from using his belt to using his fists.
Sally’s father is one of the most oppressive male characters in the book, and the situation implies that Sally is trying to escape her abusive home life through sexual experimentation with boys. Esperanza still thinks this sexual experience is glamorous, and she doesn’t connect Sally’s horrible father with Sally’s need to escape. Sally does inspire a feeling of protectiveness in Esperanza, as she tries to shelter Sally from pain and the outside world – but it turns out that this is the same sentiment that paradoxically and tragically leads her father to beat her.