"The Stolen Party" and Other Stories

"The Stolen Party" and Other Stories Essay Questions

  1. 1

    What is the monkey's significance in "The Stolen Party"?

    The magician's monkey "assistant," whom the magician refers to as his partner, fulfills a symbolic role in "The Stolen Party," as the monkey's innocence and exploitation mirror Rosaura's. Although Rosaura believes herself to be a regular guest at the party, Señora Ines treats her as a servant, expecting her to help distribute drinks and food to the other children. Similarly, Rosaura does not question why the monkey is at the party: she understands his presence as fantastical, when the monkey is in fact there to work for the magician, regardless of his own will or understanding. The monkey and Rosaura are at the party to fulfill similar functions. Like the monkey who merely "assists" the magician, Rosaura's innocence is exploited and she is made to work under the pretext that she is doing something fun and voluntary.

  2. 2

    Explain the significance of the story's last image.

    "The Stolen Party" closes on the image of Luciana's mother, Señora Ines, standing still as she holds out two bills to Rosaura. Rosaura and her mother keep their arms tight to their sides, showing via their body language that they do not think it is appropriate for Ines to have offered the money. However, Ines continues to hold out her hand, as she is incapable of accepting that the gesture would be insulting. The last lines cement the story's thematic concern with class differences and inequality. Heker implies that Ines can't take back her gesture without violating an invisible law; to withdraw the money would violate Ines's need to understand herself as occupying a position of power over Rosaura and her mother. If she treated Rosaura like she did the other guests, the social divide reinforced by economic inequality would no longer be present. The last image reveals how Ines is so thoroughly shaped by a class-based understanding of power that she cannot see Rosaura as a regular child and only understands her as a servant's daughter, and therefore as a servant herself.

  3. 3

    What is the significance of the story's title?

    The title "The Stolen Party" is best understood as a metaphor. As an idealistic and innocent child, Rosaura goes to Luciana's party under the assumption that she will treated as one of Luciana's friends and not the maid's daughter. Though Luciana's cousin interrogates her, Rosaura mixes with the other children and experiences the happiest day of her life. The story derives its title from the moment when Señora Ines "steals" Rosaura's positive impression of the party by offering money for the help Rosaura provided by giving out drinks and food. In an instance of paradox, Ines's offer of money steals Rosaura's happiness and reframes her experience as work, not play as she had assumed. While no physical theft occurs, Ines "steals" Rosaura's perspective on the party, enforcing a new perspective that reinforces Rosaura's working-class status.