Make Your Home Among Strangers


Jennine Capó Crucet

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Make Your Home Among Strangers: Chapter 6 Summary & Analysis

The street is abuzz with noise from the rally. As Lizet hears voices and music wafting in through the open windows, she contemplates the beautiful weather, and laments the fact that in just one day she will have to return to the cold, unforgiving climate up at Rawlings. She remembers the first time she saw snow, just a few weeks ago, at the start of the month—she had been so excited that she’d jumped into a pile of it outside her dorm in her pajamas, much to her roommate Jillian and the rest of their floor’s amusement. That evening, Lizet had called Leidy and Lourdes to tell them about the snow—she’d wanted to call her father, too, but didn’t have his new phone number, and wonders now if he even has a landline yet.
As Lizet reflects on being unable to properly communicate to her family how exciting it was to see snow for the first time, Crucet creates a metaphor for the ways in which each new experience Lizet has thrusts her deeper into her own new life, and pulls her further away from her family’s life and experiences together back in Miami.
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Lizet wants to ask Leidy if she has heard from their father, but instead Leidy asks Lizet how she’s doing at school. When Lizet admits it’s harder than she thought it would be, Leidy teases her for not being able to “hack it,” then turns on the news. After a few minutes, Lizet musters the courage to ask about their father—Leidy is reluctant to answer her at first, but then admits that he has called a few times, though their mother hangs up the second she realizes that it’s him on the other end. Lourdes and Leidy are both still furious with him for selling their family’s home, which made things particularly hard for Leidy, who now has limited space to raise her baby.
There are several important things Lizet wants to talk to Leidy about, but it seems as if Leidy is disinterested in hearing about Lizet’s problems or discussing the problems that still exist at home. Leidy has enough on her plate, and Lizet’s life is so foreign to her that she doesn’t have the mental energy to even begin to understand it.
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Lizet asks Leidy if she wants to go drive by their old house, but Leidy says that it’s unrecognizable—“like eighteen SUVs” are packed in the driveway at any given time, and Leidy suspects the house is being used as a garage or a car-alarm installation operation. As Leidy turns back to the news, Lizet tries to get her sister’s attention by confessing that she is having “issues” up at school. Leidy barely hears her though—their mother’s face is on the television screen. 
Lizet’s family’s old house, now repurposed as a garage, makes it clear that Lizet can never truly go home again. Not only has the physical space changed beyond recognition—the emotional and psychological elements of home are gone too.
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The girls watch their mother talk to a reporter about Ariel HernandezLourdes is telling the interviewer that Ariel should be allowed to stay in Miami, as his mother’s “ultimate sacrifice” to get him to the States must be honored. Leidy is excited that their mother is “famous,” and decides to head down to the rally so that she can try to get on TV, too. As Leidy scrambles to get ready to leave the house, Lizet watches her mother on TV—she thinks Lourdes’s voices sounds like a stranger’s. When Lizet sees Lourdes hold two fingers up to the reporter, she realizes that Lourdes is telling him she has “two little girls” at home; afraid of what her mother will say next, she shuts off the TV and screams to Leidy that they need to hurry.
The girls are at first excited and happy to see their mother on TV—it is a novelty, and they think it’s exciting that she’s about to be “famous.” However, as Lizet continues watching her mother talking to the reporter, she realizes that her mother is spinning the beginnings of a lie—and she wants to rush down to the rally to see what’s really going on, and possibly hush her mother up.
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