The Shattered Mind

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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.


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-


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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