Make Your Home Among Strangers

by

Jennine Capó Crucet

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Make Your Home Among Strangers: Chapter 8 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Lizet and Omar have been together since the summer before her junior year of high school. Omar graduated a year before her and began taking classes at a local community college while working at an auto shop to finance his passion—his car, an Acura Integra. Omar had hinted about getting engaged when Lizet graduated from high school, but the two never made anything official, and since leaving, Lizet has “drifted away from that kind of certainty” even further.
Lizet isn’t sure what she wants out of life. In going off to college, she is already shirking tradition, and her new life at college seems directly in conflict with the life that Omar could give her. This isolates Lizet and makes her feel as if she doesn’t belong anywhere or with anyone.
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Omar knows the truth about Lizet’s problems at school, but despite having confided in him, Lizet feels he doesn’t really understand what she’s going through. Lizet loves Omar but worries that he sees her going away to school as “an experiment that could fail,” or an adventure she might give up.
Lizet feels worried about confiding too much in Omar, since she thinks that part of him is secretly rooting for her to fail at school so that she’ll come home and pursue a life with him.
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Throughout her first semester at college, Lizet has found herself telling her new college friends about Omar in the terms she knows they want to hear—she describes him as an “animal” and a “psycho papi chulo.” Lizet knows that everyone around her expects to have that “kind of relationship” based on stereotypes they’ve read, heard, and seen.
Lizet knows that her life in Miami does not fit so easily into her Rawlings classmates’ racist stereotypes, but in attempting to adapt at any cost, she has twisted things to align with her peers’ expectations.
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Immigration and Assimilation Theme Icon
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Related Quotes
Lizet remembers how, on her last night in Miami, Omar became upset and defensive when a miscommunication led him to believe that Lizet was going to break up with him, when really she’d just admitted to being excited about leaving for college.
In reality, Omar is not as “animalistic” or controlling as she leads her new friends to believe—he cares about Lizet, and has real and painful emotions.
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Lizet decides to call Omar once she is already at the airport, using a pay phone across from her gate. The two have a brief conversation—Omar is surprised but not angry that Lizet came to town without telling him. He asks if Lizet will “pull some shit like this at Christmas,” and she promises him that she won’t. Lizet, wanting the conversation to end, lies and tells Omar that her flight is boarding. He asks her to call him when she gets back to her dorm to let him know that she made it back okay.
Lizet has betrayed Omar by avoiding him while being home—she feels slightly guilty about it, but is mostly interested in protecting her own needs. She is nervous about how Omar fits into the new life she’s trying to construct for herself, and reluctant to give him too much priority.
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Before hanging up, Omar asks Lizet if she’s heard anything more about her academic integrity investigation—she tells him she has one more meeting, the date of which she’ll find out when she gets back to school. Remembering this makes Lizet feel nervous. Omar wishes her good luck, and hangs up—Lizet is shocked that he hung up first.
Though Lizet has been keeping Omar at arm’s length, she is still shocked and annoyed when he is the first one to hang up, signifying that he needs her less than she thought he did.
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