Make Your Home Among Strangers

by

Jennine Capó Crucet

Teachers and parents! Struggling with distance learning? Our Teacher Edition on Make Your Home Among Strangers can help.

Make Your Home Among Strangers: Chapter 17 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lizet, Leidy, and Lourdes eat a light dinner in preparation for the “onslaught of food” that will come with tomorrow’s Noche Buena celebration. When Lizet’s mother asks her what she did during the day, she does not mention hunting down her father, and talks only about taking a trip to the library and picking up Dante from daycare—a job Lizet has taken on so that Lourdes can “volunteer” at Ariel’s house.
Lizet has picked up extra slack around the house, acting like the mature and responsible one so that Lourdes can spend time at Ariel’s while Leidy is working. Lizet shoulders duties that are not her own in order to make everyone else happy, a tendency that echoes her eagerness to appease her classmates at Rawlings by conforming to their expectations of her and telling them what they want to hear.
Themes
Home Theme Icon
Familial Duty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Lizet notes that Lourdes talks about Ariel and Caridaylis as if they are close friends—when she mentioned this to Leidy the night before, Leidy confirmed that Lourdes was in fact friends with Caridaylis and many other members of Ariel’s family.
Lizet is uncomfortable with the way her mother talks about Ariel’s family, but Leidy seems to know something Lizet doesn’t—Lizet realizes that in leaving home she has missed much more than she thought.
Themes
Home Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Immigration and Assimilation Theme Icon
Lourdes asks if Omar is coming to their family’s Noche Buena celebration—he was there the year before, but Lizet confesses that she hasn’t really talked to Omar since she’s been home. Leidy reveals that Omar called the house three or four times earlier in the afternoon—each time, Leidy answered the phone, and Omar hung up right away. Lizet thinks that this behavior doesn’t sound at all like Omar, who usually goes out of his way to be charming with Leidy and Lourdes. Lourdes urges Lizet to go call Omar back right away.
Lourdes is concerned, again, that Lizet is not maintaining her relationship with Omar. Meanwhile, Lizet is frustrated by the fact that Lourdes is more interested in her ability to hang on to Omar—and consequently hang on to the trappings of her life in Miami—than her accomplishments in school.
Themes
Home Theme Icon
Familial Duty and Betrayal Theme Icon
Lizet takes the cordless phone into her and Leidy’s bedroom—but rather than calling Omar, she calls her father. When he picks up, she asks if he called earlier, but he will not admit to doing so. Instead, he asks Lizet if she’s happy to be back—she can sense a cheeriness in his voice, and he excitedly begins asking her more questions about school. It is the first time in the three days she’s been home that anyone has asked Lizet about her semester, and she has realized that it is not because no one around her wants to know how school is going, but rather that they don’t have the tools to ask the right questions.
Whereas Lourdes has barely asked Lizet about school or her life in New York, Ricky is brimming with questions for his daughter. Though Ricky struggles to ask the right things, he is clearly trying, and this fills Lizet with even more feelings of goodwill towards her father.
Themes
Home Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
Get the entire Make Your Home Among Strangers LitChart as a printable PDF.
Make Your Home Among Strangers PDF
Ricky asks Lizet if she has time to get together tomorrow, and she says she does. He asks her to meet him for breakfast at a restaurant their family used to go to together. Lizet knows that the roundabout way her father is inviting her out is his way of communicating—sometimes, she can only glimpse the “sad echo” of what it really is he wants to say.
Lizet and her father do not communicate in the same way, and sometimes they misunderstand each other—in spite of this, Lizet cherishes her father, and is grateful that every once in a while they can get through to one another.
Themes
Home Theme Icon
Isolation Theme Icon
The next morning, Lizet kisses her mother goodbye as she is waking up, and lies that she is going to meet Omar for breakfast. Lourdes urges Lizet sleepily to be nice to Omar, who loves her “so much.” As Lizet heads to the door, she walks past Leidy, who asks if Lizet is planning on breaking up with Omar. Lizet cheekily says that will depend on whether or not Omar brings a present, and Leidy urges Lizet to do what’s best for her.
Lizet is lying to her family, committing yet another small act of betrayal. She cannot yet see how this lie will negatively affect the rest of her time at home, and send lasting reverberations through her family and her relationship with Omar, too.
Themes
Home Theme Icon
Familial Duty and Betrayal Theme Icon