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A Lesson About Life in The Stolen Party

A Lesson About Life in The Stolen Party

In Liliana Heker’s story, “The Stolen Party,” the young child Rosaura is hurt because she is a victim of a class structure which keeps the rich on the top and people like her and her mother at the bottom of society. By the end of the story Rosaura will have learned a very important lesson in class structure which, because it is so traumatic for her, she will carry with her for the rest of her life.

The first evidence we see which supports the claim that this is a story of class structure comes when Rosaura’s mother says to her, “I don’t like you going, it’s a rich people’s party” (Heker 1133). This lets the reader know that the mother is aware of the ways of the world. She knows that she and Rosaura are the help in the eyes of Senora Ines, so naturally the mother knows that there is a good chance Rosaura will be treated as such. Unfortunately, the mother was right. At the sane time the reader is also shown that Rosaura has not learned about discrimination in our society. This is proven when Rosaura says, “Rich people go to heaven too” (Heker 1133). It is too bad that this innocent child, or for that matter any child, must learn the painful truth of upper class/lower class relations at such a young age. In actuality, no one should ever learn this lesson, it is a flaw in our culture that we put people into classes at all.

Next, the fact that Rosaura thinks she will be just another guest at Luciana’s party proves again that she is unaware of class structure. Rosaura’s mother tells her that Luciana is not her friend, and that in her eyes Rosaura is just the maid’s daughter. At first this may seem harsh, but as Kevin Elliott says in his essay “The Stolen Future,” the mother kn…

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…ura because at this time she realizes she had been the help at the party. Unfortunately, Rosaura was not prepared for what she was taught that day. By the time we reach the end of the story it is evident that the child, Rosaura, has learned a painful lesson in class structure which she will take with her throughout the rest of her life.

Works Cited

Elliott, Kevin. “The Stolen Future.” Ode to Friendship

The Suffocating Good-Old Days Revealed in Girl

The Suffocating Good-Old Days Revealed in Girl

Jamaica Kincaid’s story “Girl” allows readers a glimpse into the strict, demanding manner in which parents reared their children almost twenty years ago. Through Kincaid’s careful structuring of “Girl,” readers capture the commanding tone of the story. The relationship between the mother and the girl also reeks of empowerment and distance, as best seen through the girl’s short-lived speech in the story. Most important, “Girl” shows readers how particular the lessons taught to the children two decades ago were.

The mother in “Girl” expects a great deal of her daughter, and she does not hesitate to let the girl know it. The fact that the two-page-story is entirely one sentence – and almost all of that emanating from the mother – gives off a powerful message: the mother demands a lot of her daughter. From the very beginning, the mother commands her daughter to perform tasks. Kincaid writes that the mother dictates “Wash the white clothes on Monday and put them on the stone heap” (1190). The mother’s reluctance to speak gently or even use the word “please” strongly suggests that the mother is in full and overwhelming control of her daughter.

With strict instructions such as the mother’s to her daughter, it is easy to see that the daughter is intimidated by her mother. Kincaid’s sentence structure again demonstrates the meekness of the girl whose thoughts and questions are represented a mere two times in the story. The first phrase the girl mutters represents the distance in the relationship between the girl and the mother, as the girl interrupts her mother with “but I don’t sing benna on Sundays at all and never in Sunday school” (1190). The mother, however, continu…

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…s a dire need for a revival of the old-fashioned concern.

Works Cited

Kincaid, Jamaica. “Girl.” The Harper Anthology of Fiction. Sylvan Barnet. New York: HarperCollins Publishers Inc., 1991-1190.

Austin, Jacqueline. Contemporary Literary Criticism. Ed. Roger Matuz. Vol. 43. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1987. 250.

Dutton, Wendy. Black Literature Criticism. Ed. James P. Draper. Vol. 2. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1989. 1173.

Works Consulted

Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 68. Detroit: Gale Research Co., 1991. 204.

Green, Carol Hurd, and Mason, Mary Grimley, eds. American Women Writers. New York: Continuum, 1994.

Magill, Frank N., ed. Masterpieces of African-American Literature. New York: HarperCollins Publishers, Inc., 1992.

Showalter, Elaine, ed. Modern American Women Writers. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1991.

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