Analysis of ‘The Stolen Party’ and ‘The Fall of the City’
In the story ‘The Stolen Party’, Rosaura, the protagonist, is a young naive girl who believes and trusts that all people are good. Her mother believes that all rich people are liars and they are inferior to them. She feels that her daughter will not be looked upon as equals. Despite her mother’s judgement, Rosaura continues to spend most of her time trying to convince her mother, as well as everyone at the party, that being an educated girl makes her an equal to everyone at the party. Rosaura believes that she is invited to the party because she and Luciana are friends. They spend a good amount time together. Every afternoon, they do their homework, drink tea in the kitchen and tell each other secrets. Spending all that time with Luciana gives Rosaura enough reason to assume that they are friends. Her mother tells her that she is not Luciana’s friend, but merely the maid’s daughter. At the party, Rosaura helps Sefiora Ines, Luciana’s mother, by serving at the party. Rosaura believes that Sefiora Ines is asking her to help because she is dependable and knows the house better than anyone else at the party. She feels like she is fitting in Luciana’s lifestyle and not being judged based on her social status, until she is harshly brought back to reality and faces the position of being inferior to rich people. At the end of the party, Sefiora Ines hands out loot bags to all the children and Rosaura even expected that she might get 2 for helping so much at the party. However, Sefiora Ines did not give her any loot bags and instead handed her 2 bills from her purse. She said “you truly earned this […] thank you for all your help, my pet” (Heker 4). The innocent Rosaura was shocked when she discovered that her mother was right all along. Rich people can never treat poor people as their friends, only as their inferior. “Rosaura felt her arms stiffen, stick close to her body, and then she noticed her mother’s hand on her shoulder. Instinctively, she pressed herself against her mother’s body. That was all. Except her eyes. Rosaura’s eye had a cold, clear look that fixed itself on Sefiora Ines’ face” (Heker 4). Her dreams and her innocence were shattered by her naive thinking that she will not be judged based on her social class as well as Sefiora Ines’ treatment towards Rosaura.
Similarly, in the story “The Fall of the City,” Teddy, the protagonist’s innocence was destroyed by his own naivety when he believed that he could live in his imaginary world forever. “In the centre of the room stood a fort and a palace, painstakingly constructed from corrugated cardboard cartons” (Nowlan 1). He made his own palace and army out of cardboard boxes where he was the commander; he controlled everything in his world, and he had nothing to worry about. However, one day when his uncle found out that Teddy was playing with paper dolls, he constantly humiliated him. His uncle had a stereotypical view on gender roles, in which he believes that boy’s should not be playing with dolls, as it was a female thing to do. When Teddy plays quietly, his uncle automatically assumes that he is getting into trouble and embarrasses him. What Teddy had imagined and created for himself could not keep up with reality. “There was no king Theodore, no Emperor Kang, no Theodoresburg, no Upalia, no Danova. There was only an attic full of preposterous cardboard buildings and ridiculous paper people” (Nowlan 3). He could no longer feel the magic that he once felt playing with his palace. When he went to the attic, “the city was as he had left it. Yet everything had changed. Always before when we had come there, his flesh has tingled, his eyes had shone with excitement. Now there was only a taste like that of a spoil nutmeat” (Nowlan 3). He was constantly ridiculed and let down by the adults in his life, mainly his uncle, which resulted in him tearing and destroyed his own cardboard palace which ultimately lead to the destruction of his innocence. In both stories, the authors showed that both children’s naivety and the adult’s role in each story resulted in them being betrayed and disappointed.
In both stories, the protagonist is looking for approval from their society and in each story, there are different stereotypes. In ‘The Stolen Party’ Rosaura wanted approval from the higher class society and the support from her mother to believe that not all rich people are bad. In the end, Rosaura refuses to accept change, and believe that all people are bad, but learns that In contrast, in ‘The fall of the City’, Teddy is looking for approval from his uncle. His uncle had a stereotypical view on gender roles, in which he believes that boy’s should not be playing with dolls, as it was a female thing to do.