"The Stolen Party" and Other Stories

"The Stolen Party" and Other Stories Summary and Analysis of Paragraphs 18 – 45


A blonde girl with a bow in her hair asks Rosaura who she is. Rosaura identifies herself as a friend of Luciana, but the girl says she isn’t Luciana’s friend—the blonde girl is Luciana’s cousin, and she knows all of Luciana’s friends. Rosaura says she comes over every afternoon with her mother and does her homework. Luciana’s cousin says that’s not being friends and asks if they go to school together. Rosaura says they do not.

The girl impatiently asks where they know each other from. Rosaura takes a deep breath and repeats what her mother told her to say: “I’m the daughter of the employee.” Her mother instructed her to add: “And proud of it,” but Rosaura would never in her life say such a thing.

The girl probes further, asking what kind of employee, but Señora Ines interrupts by shushing the blonde girl. Señora Ines asks Rosaura if she wouldn’t mind helping serve hot dogs, since she knows the house so much better than the others. Rosaura says “See?” to the blonde girl and, when no one is looking, kicks the girl in the shin.

The rest of the children are delightful in their attitude toward Rosaura. Rosaura likes Luciana best, and after Luciana, Rosaura likes the boys. Rosaura wins the sack race and nobody catches her when they play tag. When the children create teams for charades, the boys all want Rosaura on their side. Rosaura feels she has never been so happy.

After Luciana blows out the candles, Señora Ines asks Rosaura to help pass around slices of cake. Rosaura enjoys the task because everyone shouts for her attention. Rosaura remembers a story about a queen who had the power of life and death over her subjects. Rosaura has always loved the idea of having power of life and death over others. She gives the largest pieces to Luciana and the boys, and to the blonde girl she gives a slice so thin you could see through it.

After cake, a tall, bony magician wearing a fine red cape performs, untying handkerchiefs by blowing on them and making a chain with links with no apparent openings. The monkey assists the magician as he guesses what cards are drawn from a deck. He calls the monkey “partner.”

The last trick involves one of the children holding the monkey in their arms so the magician can make the monkey disappear. The magician selects a small fat boy to help, but the boy grows frightened and drops the monkey on the floor. The magician calls the boy unmanly and a sissy. He tells the boy to sit down.


The theme of class difference arises again as Luciana’s cousin interrogates Rosaura about why she is at the party. While the cousin claims to know all of Luciana’s friends, what really makes Rosaura stand out enough to be a target of Luciana’s hostility is ambiguous. It is possible that Luciana’s cousin has picked up on signifiers such as Rosaura’s clothes, or has seen her carrying drinks out of the kitchen and grown confused that Rosaura is not behaving as boisterously as the other children.

Whatever the case, Rosaura’s cryptic meaning that she is the daughter of “the employee” only prolongs the tense exchange. The theme of shame reenters the story with the phrase Herminia taught Rosaura to say. The phrase is significant because the vague term “employee” reveals that, despite Herminia’s insistence that Rosaura should add that she is “proud of it,” Herminia herself is insecure about having Rosaura let the other children know she is the maid’s daughter. Wishing to protect Rosaura from the prejudice of which she knows children like the cousin are capable, Herminia obscures her true title as maid.

In what appears to be Señora Ines rescuing Rosaura from the conversation with the cousin, she asks Rosaura to perform more labor for her by passing out hot dogs. The motif of Señora Ines complimenting Rosaura as she asks for her help continues: Rosaura is less likely to question why she is being made to help serve the others when Señora Ines reinforces the idea that Rosaura is more trustworthy and better skilled.

In an ironic inversion, Rosaura continues to understand the tasks she is given not as evidence of her being a servant but as evidence of her superiority. Rosaura takes this confidence into the games the children play, and privately recalls, while serving cake, how she has always loved the idea of having the power over people, like a queen able to condemn the people of her court to death at a whim.

Similar to how Señora Ines compliments Rosaura, as if to elevate the idea of her position and obscure her labor, the magician calls his monkey assistant “partner.” The monkey is in fact the magician’s property, and has no say in how he will take part in the magic act, having none of the power or equality that partnership entails.