In the section titled “Cathy Queen of Cats,” Esperanza makes her first friend in her new neighborhood. Cathy tells Esperanza that the reason her family is moving is that the neighborhood is going “bad.” Part of this includes Latinx families like Esperanza’s moving there, a fact that Esperanza doesn’t quite understand. Cathy’s attitude toward the neighborhood is that it is lower-class and going downhill.
Esperanza and her friends, however, don’t share this vision of the barrio. In the section “Those Who Don’t,” Esperanza contrasts her view of the neighborhood with that of outsiders who are afraid to be there at night. Esperanza insists that the only reason people fear them is because they don’t know the people, a conclusion that shows how prejudice can influence one’s perception. For Esperanza, the neighborhood is normal and familiar, full of interesting and diverse people.
Finally, in “Darius and the Clouds,” Esperanza complains about urban life, which doesn’t have enough of the natural world for her to observe. One day, when the sky finally has some clouds to look at, a neighborhood boy makes an insightful comment about a cloud being God. This shows that although the neighborhood is imperfect, the children who live there use their imaginations to make things better for themselves.