The story Jesse by Gary Soto is about two young Mexican American men; Jesse and his older brother Abel. The story takes place during the early 1970's in Fresno. In the beginning, Jesse decides to drop out of high school, move out of the house where he lived with his mother and drunken stepfather and tries to get out of the life of poverty. Jesse’s father had passed away from an industrial accident when Jesse and Abel were both young. Jesse decided to moves in with his older brother Abel. Both of the boys enroll in a community college where Abel switches between studying between Spanish and forestry and Jesse studies art. The boys move into a small broke-down apartment where the windows were grimy, the screen doors were ripped, and a filthy line of moss bred where the swamp cooler leaked but they paid a cheap rent of $110. From social security, they each receive $90 because of their father’s death. With the $90 they received, they spent on rent, college tuition, and to buy food and clothing. Since extra cash was needed, the boys worked on farms during weekends or found things in alleys and tried to sell at flea markets. Jesse earned $16 a weekend by working on a farm.
The story continues though Jesse's first semester at the community college. The year continues when an unexpected romance occurs and a surprising ending that leaves Jesse living by himself. Can Jesse afford everything and handle living by himself without Abel?