5/04/2012

The Shattered Mind

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THE SHATTERED MIND


In the “Stolen Party”, Liliana Heker tells about how a young girl’s heart is


broken. Labeling others, based solely on their social rank, creates complications


similar to the ones nine year old Rosaura experiences. Senora Ines labeled her as


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hired help instead of a guest during her daughter’s birthday party. Stereotyping


groups of people or individuals based on their economic or social class can have


a negative impact on the values and opinions of young people.


Heker makes clear; Rosaura comes from a working class family. Her mother


works for Senora Ines as a maid. Senora’s daughter, Luciana, was the one having the


birthday. Rosaura’s mother did not want her to go to this particular party. She stated


that it was for rich people only, not for the daughter of house cleaner. Her mother


worked for these people as was aware of the difference of the working class and the


upper class. She did not want her daughter to get embarrassed or hurt by attending


Luciana’s party. Her mother new that all the other children attending the party came


from wealthy families. Heker uses this example to illustrate the potential problems


that can arise by mixing the working class with the wealthy (upper class). Most


parents do not want to see their children’s feeling get hurt or have them feel


embarrassed. I can understand why Rosaura’s mother wants to persuade her daughter


from attending this Birthday party. However, I do not agree on the negative remarks


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she uses in trying to stop Rosaura from attending. She is stereotyping a particular


group of people based on their social class. This type of tactic (stereotyping) used by


her mother is wrong. Her statements about the wealthy, implies that all wealthy


people regard the poor or working class as less important than they are. This is how


racism gets passed in families, by influencing young people with negative suggestion


such as stereotyping others. Young people need to form their own opinions and decide


which values they will use in their lives.





Senora Ines hurt Rosaura’s feelings when she classified her as hired help





instead of one of her daughter’s guests. I did some repair work at different


restaurants locations for the owner. This man owned many restaurants and obviously,


he had money. Everyone in his family drove a Mercedes Benz. Many of his


employee’s were dishwashers, cooks, and female servers. He expected them to


worship him as if he was some kind supreme god. He believed that with the


money he has, it made him powerful and gave him the right to treat the working


class as if they were his personal servants. This man had no respect for his


dishwashers. He often yelled at them in a harsh voice. He was not as harsh to his


cooks compared to the dishwashers. He assumed that the female servers were after


him because of his money. I often saw him flirt with many of them. It appeared to


me that a few of them were due to his upper class (money). Depending on their rank


of employment with him was a factor contributing to the treatment you would get.


I learned from talking to some of his employee’s that they viewed not only him but


everyone belonging to the upper class with a negative viewpoints. This is another


example of problems that arise due to stereotyping others.


page


Opinions about the rich, were quite different between Rosaura and her


mother. Throughout most of Heker’s story, Rosaura’s mother often would express


her opinion about the rich. Usually, they were quite harsh feelings. My father in law


would often say something negative in the same manner as the mother. This caused


my wife to respond back to his thoughts or comments just as Rosaura did. Often, my


father in law would call my wife a bleeding heart liberal. This was my cue to stay


out of their conversation.





Rosaura kept insisting she was going to Luciana’s birthday party despite


what her mother told her. Her mother realized she could not stop her. So she


prepared her dress and hair so that her daughter would have a better chance at mixing


with the rich kids. Especially, since she was the daughter of the house cleaner. This


meant she was from the working class, not the upper class as the other kids are. This


reminds me of the time my father bought me new basketball shoes when I decided


to join. He new I was not very good at playing basketball. However, he figured that


if I had brand new basketball shoes, it might help my self-confidence. He was right.


Even though I was not any good, I had more complements on my shoes than I could


count. This was what Rosaura’s mother was trying to accomplish in regards to the


preparation of the dress and her daughter’s hair looking it is best.


Rosaura’s opinion towards rich people suddenly changed at the end


Senora’s gesture with the money, instead of a gift, caused her feeling to hurt.


She could not believe that her mother had been right all along. She had always


defended rich people. She had felt only love for Senora and her family. It over-


page


whelmed her the way Senora wanted to pay her as if she was hired help. In fact,


she wanted to be rich and live in a beautiful palace just like Senora and her


family. This new complication, caused by Senora Ines labeling of Rosaura,


had her reconsidering the statements her mother was always saying.





I can remember when a close friend betrayed me. This caused my opinion of him,


to change. I recalled some other people telling me negative things about him and


I did not believe any of it. However, what he did to me made me stop and think that


Perhaps all those things people were saying about him were true. At first, I was


shocked that he placed a lower value on our friendship than I did. Then, my feelings


were hurt, just like Rosaura’s were. The more I thought about it, my feelings shifted


to anger about this. Rosaura might have felt this emotion after having time to think


about it.





Heker’s story and my own experiences about the problems that result from


stereotyping others should remind people to think about what they are saying to


others. It could have a lasting impact, especially on young people.





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