Esperanza Ortega – Hero’s Journey

The Mundane World

Esperanza lived in Mexico on a large ranch with her family. They were wealthy land owners and had many people working for them. Esperanza had all the things in life she wanted and was eagerly anticipating her 13th birthday.

The Call To Adventure

On the eve of her birthday, Esperanza’s Papa had failed to return from working with the cattle. Alfonso and Miguel, two ranch workers and friends of the family, went in search of Papa and returned late that night with his body; Esperanza’s Papa was dead. Papa had two step brothers who were corrupt and bad men. They tried to convince Esperanza’s Mama that she should marry one of them now in order preserve their way of life and ownership of the ranch with Papa now dead. To help persuade Mama, Papa’s step brothers set fire to the house. Mama now knew that her and Esperanza would have to leave their life and go to America to escape Papa’s step brothers.

Crossing The Threshold

Coming to America wasn’t easy for the family. They did not have the proper papers and had to escape without Papa’s step brothers realizing. Through trusted contacts they were able to obtain the necessary documents and make the long train journey to America. As well as literally crossing the threshold at the border, Esperanza had to cross the threshold into a new way of life. This also began on the train journey. Esperanza had led a very fortunate life in Mexico but now was as common as the field workers who had worked for the family. In fact upon entering America, she too would have to become a worker.

The Path of Trials

Esperanza had to learn much along her path. When her and Mama came to America they entered a work camp which provided basic housing and manual work. Esperanza was too young to work the fields but was instead required to clean buildings and look after the babies whilst their parents were at work. At first this was very difficult for Esperanza to make this adjustment but with help and a change of attitude she was able to do so. The other children at first made fun of her for her lack of skills but slowly they stopped. As well as having to learn new skills, Esperanza’s Mama fell ill after a strong dust storm meaning that now there would be less money coming in. Mama fell so ill that she had to go to hospital and Esperanza had work even harder to pay for the costs of the medicine. Throughout these trials Esperanza also had to deal with the threat of those wanting to strike. One girl called Marta, caused a lot of problems in various work camps by trying to organize strikes to gain better wages. The problem was that if the workers went on strike then the owners of the camps would simply bring in a load of new workers willing to work at the low cost – Esperanza could not afford to lose her job as she needed the money to help Mama.

Master of Two Worlds

Within a year’s time, Esperanza was able to do almost any job and cook lots of different meals for the family. She was only 14 years old but had changed much in the course of the year. Mama was now cured and able to return home due to the medicine Esperanza had helped pay for. As well as having physically changed, the most important change was in Esperanza’s attitude. She now realized how fortunate her life had previously had been. Instead of being bitter and upset at her new life, she chose to embrace it and place value on the more important things in life.

Submitted by: James Renton

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2 Responses to Esperanza Ortega – Hero’s Journey

  1. mariely estevez December 11, 2012 at 6:39 am #

    who would be espernaza’s hero

    • matt December 11, 2012 at 6:44 am #

      Good question. She is influenced by many – her father, her grandmother, the boy she meets at the camps, even Marta. Who do you think it is?

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