Cisernero's work centers on the coming of age in the life of the protagonist, Esperanza. The main theme of the work is the idea of maturation and emotional development. Told in a series of vignettes which help to build the bildungsroman notion in the work, much of what is explored is the idea of being born in both Hispanic and American settings. Given the idea of the emerging identity of being a woman coupled with the discussion of racial identity, one begins to see several complex themes develop throughout the course of the work. Along these lines, the primary purpose presented helps to bring forth the idea of representation in literature is a critical element. Cisneros' work helps to bring light to silenced voices in the discourse, helping to reduce the crisis of representation in the literature genre.