When Cathy and her family move out of their
house, Juan "Meme" Ortiz, his mother, and his sheepdog move in. The dog has two
names, one in English and one in Spanish (Esperanza does not tell us what those
names are). Esperanza and Meme play in Meme's backyard, staging "the First
Annual Tarzan Jumping Contest" from a large tree in the yard. "Meme won,"
Esperanza tells us, before adding, "And broke both arms."
This scene portrays Esperanza and Meme playing innocently,
as children do. Cisneros could be laying the groundwork for Esperanza's loss of
innocence later in the novel, as Esperanza continues to move toward adolescence
and, ultimately, adulthood. Another notable aspect of this vignette is that
Juan has done what Esperanza wishes to do (see "My Name"): he has renamed
himself. To some degree, he has forged his own identity, as Esperanza is still
in the process of doing. Connected to the issue of Meme/Juan's name is the fact
that his dog has two names. We may not need to learn what those names are
because the simple fact that the dog has them is more significant: like
Esperanza (see, again, "My Name"), the dog lives between two worlds, the
English-speaking and the Spanish-speaking world.