- Why is the hospital Mattie takes Esperanza to an issue?
- Why does Taylor say about Estevan that this “man was way beyond me”?
- Who is Ismene?
- Why were Esperanza’s brother and two friends killed?
- Why do the police simply hold Ismene instead of killing her?
- What excruciatingly difficult choice did Estevan and Esperanza make?
- In comparison to Estevan’s experience, how does Taylor define her life?
- Why does Taylor think of her Family of Dolls?
- How did the Nutters get their nickname?
- Why does Taylor go to her own bed to sleep?
- The Greasers
- The Nutters
Cultural and Historical Allusions
- 4-H Club
- India’s caste system
- The Untouchables
- The stolen, lost, disappeared children of Guatemala
- Time-Life books
Medical, Natural, and Geographic Allusions
- Suicide by asprin
- Fig tree
- Torture by electricity
- Walnut trees
- syrup of ipecac
- “It was after sunset and the moon was already up. A fig grew by the back door, an old, stubborn tree that was slow to leaf out. The moon threw shadows of fig branches that curled like empty hands across Estevan’s face and his chest. Something inside this man was turning inside out.” (131-2)
- “The schoolgirl nerves that had possessed me half an hour ago seemed ridiculous now; this was like having a crush on some guy only to find he’s been dating your mother or your math teacher. This man was way beyond me.” (135)
- “It’s hard to explain, but a certain kind of horror is beyond tears. Tears would be like worrying about watermarks on the furniture when the house is burning down.” (136)
- “There was no way on earth I could explain what I felt, that my whole life had been running along on dumb luck and I hadn’t even noticed.” (137)
- “All of Esperanza’s hurts flamed up in my mind, a huge pile of burning things that the world just kept throwing more onto. Somewhere in that pile was a child that looked just like Turtle. I lifted Estevan’s hand from my ribcage and kissed his palm. It felt warm. Then I slid off the sofa and went to my own bed.”