Make Your Home Among Strangers

by

Jennine Capó Crucet

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Jillian Character Analysis

Jillian is Lizet’s freshman roommate at Rawlings College in New York. Jillian is a beautiful, privileged girl from “the good part” of New Jersey, who has a lot of high-minded—but deeply offensive—ideas about race and identity. She introduces Lizet to her friends as her “Cuban” roommate, highlighting and accessorizing Lizet’s otherness, but then calls Lizet “racist” when Lizet says that Jillian is not qualified to make assessments about the Ariel Hernandez affair. Jillian is not overtly cruel to Lizet, but rather pelts her with micro-aggressions that confuse and destabilize her sense of self. Crucet uses Jillian to demonstrate how difficult it is for immigrants and people of color to convince other, more privileged people—namely, white people—that their own stories and opinions are valuable, and to show how insidious the effects of such treatment are.

Jillian Quotes in Make Your Home Among Strangers

The Make Your Home Among Strangers quotes below are all either spoken by Jillian or refer to Jillian. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
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). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Picador edition of Make Your Home Among Strangers published in 2015.
Chapter 10 Quotes

—You're too connected to the whole thing.

I tossed the book on the desk behind me and said—too loud and leaning too far forward—What the fuck does that mean, connected? I'm not fucking related to the kid.

—Don’t get ghetto, Liz, she said. I'm just saying that, no offense, but as a Cuban person, you can't really expect people to believe that you'll be completely rational about this.

She held the water bottle loosely now, between only a couple fingers. I tried to match her ease by leaning back in my chair.

—I was born in this country, I said, not knowing what point I was trying to make.

I righted my chair and tried again. I said, Look, I would argue that I - I can speak more intelligently about this than you because I know more about it than you ever could.

—Wow, she said, her water bottle heading back to her mouth. Let's just leave that there before you get any more racist.

Related Characters: Lizet Ramirez (speaker), Jillian (speaker)
Related Symbols: Ariel Hernandez
Page Number: 89-90
Explanation and Analysis:
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Make Your Home Among Strangers PDF

Jillian Character Timeline in Make Your Home Among Strangers

The timeline below shows where the character Jillian appears in Make Your Home Among Strangers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 9
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Lizet returns to Rawlings to find her dorm largely empty. Her roommate, Jillian, is not due back until the following evening. As Lizet walks to the dining hall... (full context)
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Immigration and Assimilation Theme Icon
Lizet angrily begins unpacking. When she’s finished, she crawls into Jillian’s bed and puts a movie on using Jillian’s computer. It’s a British film—Monty Python’s Life... (full context)
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Now, watching Monty Python in Jillian’s bed, Lizet begins crying. She worries that the prediction made at the meeting has come... (full context)
Chapter 10
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The next morning, Lizet straightens up Jillian’s side of the room, hiding all evidence of having used Jillian’s things. When Jillian blusters... (full context)
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Jillian wants to hear all about “that baby from Cuba”—Ariel’s story is all over the news... (full context)
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...that its citizens are deprived of soap, bandages, tampons, and other basic medical supplies. While Jillian is not guilty of this behavior, she does introduce Lizet to everyone by saying: “This... (full context)
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Lizet decides to simply tell Jillian that Jillian can’t imagine how bad things are in Cuba. Jillian points out that Lizet... (full context)
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...is almost too angry to say anything else, but after a moment she asks why Jillian thinks that. Jillian warns Lizet not to get defensive—she’s too “connected” to the whole thing.... (full context)
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Lizet insists she’s not being racist, but Jillian ignores her and busies herself by unpacking her suitcase. Lizet, hoping to get Jillian’s attention... (full context)
Chapter 11
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After waiting in the administration office—with Jillian’s borrowed blazer scratching the back of her neck—Lizet is led back to a conference room... (full context)
Chapter 12
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...the communal bathroom, sending the smell of smoke wafting through the halls of her dorm; Jillian and her friends are going to the party, too, and as the other do their... (full context)
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...room to get dressed. When she’s ready, she heads out into the hall, looking for Jillian and the other girls, but an RA tells her they have already left on the... (full context)
Chapter 13
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...her. He asks her what her real name is, but before she can tell him, Jillian stumbles over—she is massively drunk, and apologizes for leaving Lizet behind at the dorm. Jillian... (full context)
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Jillian stumbles back over to Lizet, and tells her that Ethan is clearly into her before... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...cold out, and Lizet considers putting on a pair of mittens she has borrowed from Jillian—they are expensive and fancy, and Lizet feels conflicted about wearing them. Ethan enthusiastically points out... (full context)
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...for her. As she finishes unlacing her skates, she sees Ethan looking at one of Jillian’s mittens, which she wore out on the rink. He tells her he understands—Lizet obviously doesn’t... (full context)
Chapter 25
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...shrugging off their questions, much to their dismay. An RA even comes to Lizet and Jillian’s door to offer Lizet “support”; Lizet angrily insists that nothing’s going on with her, and... (full context)
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...ring for Christmas, Lizet realizes that Ethan still has the wrong idea about her—first from Jillian’s fancy mittens, and now from the ring. (full context)
Chapter 26
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Lizet is surprised when, only a few days into the new semester, Jillian asks her what she’s planning on doing for the summer. When Lizet answers that she’ll... (full context)
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Jillian changes the subject—she asks Lizet why Lizet switched her fancy new ring from her left... (full context)
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...she tells him that her fancy mittens belong to her roommate, and admits to being Jillian’s “charity case.” Ethan asks if that means that Lizet’s ring isn’t really from her mom,... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...to them about over the phone. Back at her dorm, Lizet shows the brochure to Jillian, who congratulates her on securing such an exciting opportunity. As Jillian heads off to her... (full context)
Chapter 28
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...to the TV screen. Four other girls—white girls, two of whom are Caroline and Tracy, Jillian’s friends—turn around and look quizzically at Lizet. As Lizet gets closer to the TV, blocking... (full context)
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...shushes her. Lizet hears Tracy whisper to one of the other girls that Lizet is Jillian’s Cuban roommate. As Liz wonders what Madres Para Justicia is—and again, why no one told... (full context)
Chapter 29
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Lizet is alone in the dorms all of spring break—Jillian and Ethan are both away, so Lizet spends her days in the library, studying and... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...to call and tell she got home safely. When she walks into her dorm room, Jillian asks how her weekend was, and asks some questions about the Ariel raid—Lizet knows she... (full context)
Chapter 35
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...the local library, where she checks her university email for correspondence from her Rawlings friends. Jillian writes her to talk about her summer in New York, but she has had no... (full context)