Esperanza goes through a dramtic change over the course of the book. At the beginning of the book she is a wealthy 12 year old girl who is very close with her parents. She seems spoiled because everything is about her and how happy she is. She has a rude conversation with Miguel and how he is the son of the servants and he is not good enough for Esperanza because he is "on the other side of the river."
After the grape harvest, Esperanza's dad goes missing. He is later found dead. They suspect bandits did it, but I think that the bandits were paid off by Tio Luís and Tio Marco. Instead of marrying Tio Luis, Mama decided that they must sneak away to California if they are going to have a chance at a normal life. On the train to California, Esperanza is very rude to the poor peasant people on the train. She complains about how poor and dirty they are. She doesn't share her doll with a dirty peasant girl. This makes her mom embarrassed. She doesn't realize that she is also now very poor since she is leaving all of her money in Mexico.
Once Esperanza arrive in California, she is still not quite catching on that she is now poor. She expects Hortensia to bathe her and she is kind of snobbish about where she is living. We learn that she doesn't know how to sweep or change a diaper. She is rather helpless and has a hard time asking for help. When she is introduced to Isabel's best friend Silvia, she realizes that it is hard to stay clean in such a dirty campsite. She grab a hold of Silvia's hands showing that she is willing to get dirty. This is one of the first examples of Esperanza making a significant change in her outlook and behavior toward her new life.
When Esperanza's mom gets sick, she must go to work in the sheds. She is motivated to work because she wants to help pay for her mother's medical bills and to try and bring Abuelita back from Mexico. She was a hard worker and she earned the right to work for several different harvests. One day when she got home from work, she took off her working apron and put on a cooking apron. This was a big difference from the beginning of the story when she couldn't cook at all.
Another time when Esperanza showed a big change was when she bought a piñata at the Japanese market and filled it with candy. She was going to give it to her mother so she would feel better at the hospital. On the way to the hospital they saw Marta and gave her a ride home. When they got to her camp, they met a very poor family who didn't have any food. She gave the piñata to the kids in the family to make them happy. This was a very selfless thing for her to do. Esperanza from the beginning of the story.
I have definitely changed since I started reading this book. Before I read this book, I had no idea that there were people who came from Mexico to work in America in the 1930s. I also didn't know that these workers would strike to try and get better pay. I did not realize that some of the people got sent back to Mexico on busses even though they were Americans. I do not think that they were treated fairly.