Coming of Age Essay: Esperanza Rising

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Steers 1

Tyler Steers
Period E/Moberly
9H English
3-23-10
20___ An effective introduction that ends with a thesis in T/P/R2-3/No I format 50___ Well organized body paragraphs that fully develop thesis and are rich with well-integrated quotes 20___ 5-vocab words from this unit are properly used. Words are highlighted in bold. 10___ Properly formatted works cited page

Coming of Age Essay Final Draft
Most kids seem to think that going to school and getting an education is boring and even a waste of time but that was not the case for these two girls. Francie Nolan and Esperanza Cordero are two very different characters that come from very different backgrounds. However, for both of them, education played a pivotal role as they matured. It helped them escape reality, and opened the door for a better life.

For Francie Nolan education was something that was always stressed in her family. Her mother Katie made her and Neeley read either the encyclopedia or some of the works of Shakespeare, every night before they went to bed. This greatly expanded their knowledge and vocabulary. Also, since she started them doing this at a young age what they read would help shape their mind and the lessons and things they might have learned would stay with them forever. Some things she read like A Midsummer Night’s Dream have very vivid descriptions of setting and very intriguing characters. I think that after Francie reads these novels she tries to come up with her own descriptions for Brooklyn, “Prairie was lovely and Shenandoah had a beautiful sound but you couldn’t fit these words into Brooklyn. Serene was the only word. Especially on a Saturday afternoon in the summer.”(Smith 1) These words show how Francie describes her city and the words she uses are far more advanced than what any other child her age would be Steers 2

saying. Therefore, this shows the positive effect that reading Shakespeare has had on her. Besides the books she is forced to read at night, Francie takes her education into her own hands. Every Saturday, while most other kids she knows, including her own brother Neeley, are outside playing or picking rags to give to the junkman, Francie goes to the library. “It was an old shabby place but Francie thought it was beautiful. The feeling she had about it was the same feeling she had about church.”(Smith 20) This shows me that Francie feels safe in the library and she goes there to escape reality, to dive into the new and exciting worlds those books present to her. The books also help Francie escape reality in the sense that they give her peace in a time and a city where that was hard to find. “… She read, at peace with the world and as happy as a little girl could be with a good book and a bowlful of candy.”(Smith 24) As she watches from her perch on a tree outside her window, “Kids ran in and out, going to and returning from the butcher’s, the grocer’s, and the bakers”(Smith 24) From Francie’s perspective all the kids, most of them probably around her age, are very stressed as they run around doing errands for their parents. Francie is able to avoid that stress by reading.

Esperanza is slightly different from Francie. She uses her writing, not reading as a way for her to escape her reality. Specifically, Esperanza is interested in writing poems. She would always read her poems to her Aunt Lupe. Sadly, her Aunt Lupe dies of a mysterious disease and Esperanza no longer had anyone to share with. That was made even worse by the fact that Esperanza felt partially responsible for her Aunt’s death. That responsibility, even if it was not actually hers, was a big burden on Steers 3

Esperanza. Then Esperanza remembered something that her Aunt had said to her the last time that Esperanza had shared one of her poems with her aunt. “That’s nice. That very good she said in her tired voice. Esperanza, you must remember to keep writing. Always keep writing. It will keep you...
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