Liliana Heker’s The Stolen Party is a story of a poor young girl who tries to find a place in the territory of rich people. It begins with an argument between Rosaura and her mother, Herminia. Rosaura is insisting her will to attend the birthday party of her best friend Luciana. Hermina, who works as a maid for Luciana’s family, warns her daughter that it was a party for rich people and Rosaura will certainly not fit in; but the little girl’s persistence makes Herminia to finally allow her.
Rosaura is very positive and tries to mingle with the guests who are all affluent like the celebrant, including Luciana’s cousin who is the first person in the party to criticize Rosaura. Several times, Senora Ines, Luciana’s mother, asks her to help in the kitchen and serve the guests. Towards the end of the party, Senora Ines gives out a gift or a token to every young guest: a yoyo for the boy and a bracelet for the girl. Rosaura is expectant that she will receive a gift, too. However, Senora Ines pulls out two dollars from her wallet and gives it to Rosaura as a payment for her help she does during the party
In The Stolen Party, two mother-daughter relationships are seen. Each mother has different perspective in raising her child. One, Senora Ines, nurtures her daughter in abundance and the other, Herminia, has to be contented with whatever her little money can buy. According to Dennis Prager, Herminia is a better mother than Senora Ines. This is true because she is sensitive to her daughter’s feelings and is willing to sacrifice to make her daughter happy. At the beginning of the story, Herminia refuses to let her daughter go to Luciana’s birthday party. She even scolds Rosaura for believing that she can fit in the world of the rich.
In most people’s view, this behaviour of Herminia is selfish. It crushes the little girl’s optimism. Rosaura feels that her mother is unfair to her. In a closer look, however, Herminia’s refusal is not for her; it’s for her daughter’s sake. She fears that Rosaura may be treated unfairly by the rich people. If this happens, it will break the young girl’s heart and Herminia cannot bear it. Herminia’s refusal has something to do with her bitterness with the poor situation they are in. She compares their life to the affluent, which makes her see only the ugly things around her.
She also wants Rosaura to call herself “an employee’s daughter” and not simply “a maid’s daughter. ” This is a case of the missing tile syndrome: noticing only what is lacking and tends to ignore the good things that she has. With this bitterness in her heart, Herminia develops hatred towards rich people. She hates them because they have the things that she can never have no matter how hard she works. Adding salt to the injury is the fact that their sole income is dependent to a rich family. This hatred makes her to disallow Rosaura to attend the party. Eventually, the good mother in Herminia prevails as she lets Rosaura go to the party.
Her daughter must not be the one to suffer for the ill-feeling that she has. She even prepares Rosaura’s best dress and takes time in making her daughter look presentable. This shows how much she loves her daughter. In this world where the decision of the elders usually prevails over the desire of the younger ones, it is typically difficult for a mother to swallow her pride and gives in to her child. But Herminia does that: she sets aside her personal motives aside and gives way to Rosaura’s happiness. She is willing to sacrifice for the sake of her daughter, even if it means pain in her heart.
Despite their impoverished situation, Herminia is able to provide the basic needs of her daughter and sends her to a school. In fact, Rosaura grows up into an intelligent girl, one of the best in her class. With this accomplishment, Herminia can be considered a good mother. However, it is also apparent that Rosaura has an attitude problem as she argues with her mother about the party and even shouted at Herminia to shut up. One may ask: What kind of disciplinary method does Herminia employ to Rosaura? Being a good parent is not only about giving all the
material needs of the child; it also important to nurture and feed his moral ascendancy. On the other hand, Senora Ines is a good mother, too. This is proven as she provides Luciana a big house, house helpers, an expensive education and pampering only a rich mother can give. The big party itself, with all its lavishness, is a symbol that she is willing to give all the best to her child. But in this party, Senora Ines reveals a negative side of her: insensitivity. Instead of treating Rosaura as the best friend of Luciana, Senora Ines requests, for numerous times, the poor girl to help in the kitchen and serve the dishes.
This is a display that puts a doubt on the mothering capability of Senora Ines. Perhaps for the rich woman, as long as she has provided all the material needs of her Luciana, the other aspects of raising a child do not matter anymore. She forgets that it is very essential to enrich the emotional and mental facet of her little girl. On the contrary, she is too insensitive that she ignores the feelings of her daughter as she does not seem to mind that her treatment of Rosaura may hurt Luciana.
The most hurting part is when Senora Ines pays Rosaura with money instead of giving her the toy or bracelet the girl is expecting. Suddenly, all the enthusiasm and optimism of Rosaura melt down. Senora Ines wants to compensate Rosaura with all the helping she does during the party; but Rosaura does not see the rich woman’s motive anymore. All she knows is that the payment is an insult. Realization dawns upon her: she and her mother are just workers of the rich people and that is that, nothing more. Her mother is right all along. At that moment, Rosaura’s seeks her mother for comfort.
Herminia is just on time to rescue her daughter from devastation. For better or for worse, even in times of humiliation, Herminia shows her willingness to face all odds for her daughter. At the end of the story, Herminia proves that she is indeed the better mother compared to Senora Ines.
• Heker, Liliana. The Stolen Party. Retrieved July 12, 2009 from http://faculty. massasoit. mass. edu/waucoin/ec2/TheStolenParty. txt • Prager, Dennis. Don’t Judge Motives. Used Wisdom. Retrieved July 12, 2009 from http://usedwisdom. com/? p=105#comments