by FaizanB, May 21, 2013 at 4:20 pm:
You needn't apologize for being a student and you are actually more correct than the original poster who merely regurgitates the explanation in the book. Esperanza, in English, both as a verb and a noun means hope and vice versa.
The issue that has everyone all lathered up is that they are not considering the context and juxtaposition Cisneros (the author) is using. She is showing the dichotomy of language--the power that words have.
You see, she chooses to use the English translation "hope" to represent Esperanza's longing for what she perceives as happiness and the good life. She then uses an alternative meaning in Spanish for "waiting (longing)" and "sadness" which reflects her self-imposed feelings of being a second class citizen.
This is quite typical of feminist writer's to pick and choose, sometimes, double meanings of words to suit their literary agenda.
If you understand the mechanism of feminist theory, and feminist literature, it will make sense.