1. then I am a red balloon,

1. From the vignette “Boys & Girls”:
“Someday I will have a best friend all my own. One I can
tell my secrets to. One who will understand my jokes without my having to
explain them. Until then I am a red balloon, a balloon tied to an anchor” (9).

In this Vignette, Esperanza talks about how she wants to
have a friend but her sister Nenny is too young to be her friend. Which
creates anchors in her life. Her sister holds her back, and the house she
lives in does not let her express herself.
Esperanza has made it clear that the house she lives in now
is not her dream house her mom used to tell her.
 

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This passage shows how women have expectations to follow. Before
this quote, Esperanza makes a comment about how she is expected to be
responsible for her younger sister. Which is one of the anchor she talks about
in the last sentence of page 9.
I believe the author uses a bit of imagery in this
vignette. A red balloon tied to an anchor is an image that is brought up to
your attention and makes you think of how hard it would be for it to set
itself free.
I think Esperanza expresses herself very well in this vignette.
She also comments on how she feels about being one of the two girls in her
family and how the expectations of her brothers are different from Nenny’s
and hers.

2. From the vignette “My Name”:
“She was a horse woman too, born like me in the Chinese
year of the horse – which is supposed to be bad luck if you’re born female –
but I think this is a Chinese lie because the Chinese, like the Mexicans,
don’t like their women strong” (10).

In this vignette, Esperanza observes that Chinese and
Mexicans do not like their woman strong. Hispanic countries are not the only
ones that consider their women less than men. This makes a connection to the
vignette “Boys & Girls”, where she is “a red balloon tied to an anchor”
(9). The expectations of women are both high and low. They are expected to
get married and serve their husband unconditionally.

This passage shows that women are expected to act and
think in very specific ways. Esperanza knows of the expectations that are
expected from a Latina, which she says in the third to last paragraph of this
vignette, “I have inherited her name, but I don’t want to inherit her place
by the window” (11).
I believe the author uses personification in this vignette.
Specifically when Esperanza says, “She looked out the window her whole life,
the way so many women sit their sadness on an elbow” (11), sadness is given
human characteristics of sitting on Esperanza’s great-grandmother.
 
 

3. From the vignette “Hips”:
“They’re good for holding a baby when you’re cooking,
Rachel says, turning the jump rope a little quicker. She has no imagination”
(49).
 

In this quote, Esperanza says Rachel has no imagination
because she comments about how hips are “good for holding a baby and cooking”
which is a traditional gender role of women in their society.
Esperanza believes that there is more to life than living
up to the expectation; and that one has to step outside the box in order to
get what they are looking for.

Esperanza believes that there is more out there than just
marrying and suffering the injustice of women in her culture. In this vignette,
Nenny is humming a nursery rhyme that suggest the idea that gender it is not
something you are born with, it is something you learn to be and act out as
you grow older.
 

4. From the vignette “No Speak English”:
” She sits all day by the window and plays the
Spanish radio show and sings all the homesick songs about her country in a
voice that sounds like a seagull. Home. Home. Home is a house in a
photograph… And then to break her heart forever, the baby boy, who has
begun to talk, starts to sing the Pepsi commercial he heard on the T.V. No
speak English, she says to the child who is singing the language that sounds
like tin. No speak English, no speak English, and bubbles into tears. No, no,
no, as if she can’t believe her ears.” (page 77-78)