Russian Matroyoshka dolls
Mowhawk hair style
- What is the significance of the group going to Lou Ann's "special" place in the desert?
- Why didn't Lou Ann and Angel get married there?
- Why is Esperanza obsessed with Turtle?
- What is wrong with Esperanza? How is she like Turtle and Snowboots?
- What is the symbolism of the quails?
- What is the symbolism of Turtle's first sound? Her first word?
- What is the symbolism of Lou Ann's hair cutting?
- What do we learn about Lou Ann's self-esteem?
- What signs do we have of Lou Ann and Taylor's friendship growing?
- What's weird about Edna Poppy?
- What is Mrs. Parsons like?
- What is Estevan like?
- Why is Mattie on TV?
- Why do you think Mattie's words are partially talked over?
- What is the story Estevan tells? How is it significant?
- Do you think this story's meaning is the essential message of the book? Why or why not?
Idioms, Slang, and Difficult Words
- Esperanza, Hope
- Estevan, Steven
- Edna Poppy
- Mrs. Virgie Mae Parsons
Cultural and Historical Allusions
Medical, Natural, and Geographic Allusions
- Guatemala City
- desert canyons
- desert streams
- Cottonwood trees
- Mesquite trees
- Frankfort, Kentucky
- Acarophobia, fear of itching or of the insects that cause itching
- Acerophobia, fear of sourness
- Acrophobia, fear of heights
- stretch marks
Page numbers from the large-sized paperback edition
- "It was a sweet sight. With the cottonwood shade rippling over them they looked like a drawing from one of those old-fashioned children's books that show babies in underwater scenes, blowing glassy bubbles and holding on to fishes' tails." (94-5)
- "Turtle always had desperate, active dreams. In sleep, it seemed, she was free to do all the things that during her waking life she could only watch." (95)
- "'I ought to be shot for looking like this,' she'd tell the mirror in the front hall before going out the door. 'I look like I've been drug through hell backwards,' she would say on just any ordinary day. 'Like death warmed over. Like something the cat puked up.'" (99)