Make Your Home Among Strangers

by

Jennine Capó Crucet

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Ricky Ramirez (Lizet’s Father) Character Analysis

Ricky Ramirez is Lizet and Leidy’s father. He is a Cuban immigrant who dropped out of high school to start a family with Lourdes when she became pregnant over twenty years ago. Ricky has always worked hard on behalf of his family and has for a long time been striving to make a better life for them—and yet, when Lizet decides to go off to college, he realizes that his marriage is irreparably flawed and decides to leave the family. Ricky is stoic and emotionally unavailable, and Lizet’s attempts to connect with him are fraught with pain, distrust, and misunderstanding. Ricky’s assertion that Lizet has “betrayed” the family by opting to go off to college is a way of lessening his own betrayal of them in the form of leaving and selling off the home the girls grew up in. Ricky does have a soft spot for Lizet, though, and in the end he is the only one who supports her, even marginally, as she chooses to continue to pursue her education, career, and personal growth away from Miami.

Ricky Ramirez (Lizet’s Father) Quotes in Make Your Home Among Strangers

The Make Your Home Among Strangers quotes below are all either spoken by Ricky Ramirez (Lizet’s Father) or refer to Ricky Ramirez (Lizet’s Father). 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 30 Quotes

—We get the news, you know, up there […] do you have any idea how the rest of the country is seeing this? I'm tired of it. We look like a bunch of crazy people.

—What's with this we crap? he said. I'm not with her, you're not even here.

—We as in Cubans, I said. He smiled with only one side of his mouth. He laughed again.

—You're not Cuban, he said. This hurt me more than anything else he could've said—more than Who cares what anyone up there thinks, more than Like there’s anything coming down here is gonna do—and I think he saw it in my face, saw how impossible what he’d just said sounded to me.

—Don't look at me like that! he said. You're American. I'm wrong?

[…]

—Yeah, I said. I'm—what do you mean I'm not Cuban? I was born here, yeah, but I'm Cuban. I'm Latina at least, I said.

—Latinos are Mexicans, Central Americans. You're not that either he said.

—What? Dad, are you—other people think I'm Cuban.

He stood up from the bed and moved out through the door, leaving me alone as he said, Okay, sure you are. Whatever you say, Lizet.

Related Symbols: Ariel Hernandez
Page Number: 314
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 36 Quotes

I already know what each would say should I ever have to tell them about an upcoming research trip to Cuba: my dad would talk about being a little disappointed in me, about the unfairness of me being able to travel to a country he can't enter, but he'd mostly not say anything, only leave me guessing at his meaning […]; my mother would bring out familiar words—betrayal, loyalty, traitor—words that have come to define our relationship no matter how much time passes but whose sting has faded and turned into something I can manage […].

To tell them would also mean inviting them along in a way. We still have family there. […] And when I tell them there'll be no time for that, that this is a work trip, that I'll mostly be on the water, in or under a boat, that what they want me to do takes me clear across an island I don't know: Oh, I see. You don't have time to take a piece of paper and a crayon to your grandmother's headstone? You don't have time to do that for me who will never see it? Oh, that's right, of course you don't. I should've remembered how busy you always are. I shouldn't have even asked.

Page Number: 385
Explanation and Analysis:
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Ricky Ramirez (Lizet’s Father) Character Timeline in Make Your Home Among Strangers

The timeline below shows where the character Ricky Ramirez (Lizet’s Father) appears in Make Your Home Among Strangers. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
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...to dump into Miami’s canals, such as motor oil and dead hamsters. Once, when Lizet’s father, Ricky, was thirteen, he and his friends found a dead body in a canal but... (full context)
Chapter 5
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...much care, Lizet’s parents saw her choice to go to college as a “betrayal.” Lizet’s father took Lizet’s “impending fall exit” to do the same—soon after Lizet told everyone she was... (full context)
Chapter 6
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...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... (full context)
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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... (full context)
Chapter 14
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...tired, and homesick, Lizet decides to use her calling card to reach out to her father, to whom she hasn’t spoken since she left Miami for school. He is excited and... (full context)
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Lizet and her father catch up for a few minutes, and he asks repeatedly if she’s doing all right... (full context)
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In her disoriented state, Lizet vows to confront her father at Christmastime about his own betrayals: selling the family home, and never calling her once... (full context)
Chapter 16
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 Ricky calls the apartment on the first night Lizet arrives from Rawlings. The call is short,... (full context)
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...feels that showing up at her uncle Fito’s house and demanding to know where her father is living fits the bill. (full context)
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...confess they didn’t even know she was in college—Lizet is sad to realize that her father never mentioned the fact that she’d gotten into Rawlings or decided to go. Lizet considers... (full context)
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...greets her uncle Fito, and speaks to him in English as she asks where her father is. Her cousins accuse her of forgetting her Spanish and tease her for not knowing... (full context)
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Lizet arrives at her father’s new apartment, in a complex called The Villas. It is shabby and run-down, and is... (full context)
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...room furniture. Rafael tells Lizet that he has heard a lot about her from her father—he reveals jokingly that he has heard all about her time at college, and how much... (full context)
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Rafael offers to call Ricky, but Lizet insists she has to go. She asks Rafael not to tell Ricky she... (full context)
Chapter 17
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...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... (full context)
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Ricky asks Lizet if she has time to get together tomorrow, and she says she does.... (full context)
Chapter 18
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Lizet arrives at the restaurant to meet Ricky very early. She sits at a table by herself for over half an hour drinking... (full context)
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Ricky arrives at the restaurant. As he approaches the table and gives Lizet a hug, she... (full context)
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Ricky and Lizet order their food; he apologizes for being out of touch, and explains that... (full context)
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Lizet asks what Ricky knows about her mother and Ariel—her father doesn’t answer. When Lizet asks if he’s talked... (full context)
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Ricky and Lizet begin eating, and Ricky continues talking about Lourdes and her Ariel obsession. He... (full context)
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As Ricky and Lizet finish eating, Ricky asks whether everyone is attending the annual party at Lourdes’s... (full context)
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Lizet heads home with the envelopes from her father in her back pocket. She is determined to drive by her old house, and wonders... (full context)
Chapter 19
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...Lizet quickly reveals that she didn’t go to see Omar; she went to see their father. Lizet begs Leidy not to tell their mother; Leidy insists she’s not telling their mother... (full context)
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Leidy asks where Ricky is living now, and Lizet is relieved to realize that her sister doesn’t know her... (full context)
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Lizet wanders into the other room to read the note. In it, Ricky explains that he knows 50 dollars for Leidy and 50 dollars for Dante basically equals... (full context)
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Lizet folds the money into her pocket and tells herself she will not see her father again before she goes back to school—she doesn’t want him to think she’s just seeing... (full context)
Chapter 27
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...to herself. She knows that as soon as she tells either her mother or her father about the internship, the news will be scrutinized and questioned, and she won’t be able... (full context)
Chapter 30
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...him she’s not going to her mother’s house—she wants to be dropped off at her father’s apartment in Hialeah. Lizet has realized that she needs her father’s help. When they pull... (full context)
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Ricky has come out of his apartment building at the noise; he is shocked to see... (full context)
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Lizet goes into her father’s apartment and sits with him in his bedroom. She and her father instantly begin bickering... (full context)
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Lizet tells Ricky that she needs to get her mother away from the Ariel situation. She tells her... (full context)
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As Lizet eats her snack, Ricky asks if she needs a ride to her mother’s apartment—she can’t stay with him. She... (full context)
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Ricky points out that Lizet has gone to college by herself and has paid for all... (full context)
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In the morning, Ricky drives Lizet to Lourdes’s apartment. Leidy answers the door for her; Leidy seems both surprised... (full context)
Chapter 33
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...her to the airport, and Lourdes has chained herself to the front of Ariel’s house. Ricky offers to drive Lizet, but Lizet is embarrassed to need his help again, and declines.... (full context)
Chapter 35
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...she pulls Leidy off of Lizet. Leidy tells Lizet that she’s no better than their father, and Lizet recognizes this as the “ultimate insult.” Leidy deepens the affront when she tells... (full context)
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...they hear, from Lourdes’s room, the sound of her on the phone—she is talking to Ricky, and she tells him that he needs to come and get Lizet now, because Lourdes... (full context)
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Lizet waits downstairs for Ricky to come get her. When he arrives, she explains that she’s taking an internship in... (full context)
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Two days later, Ricky takes Lizet to the airport, where the lines are chaotic due to upped security in... (full context)
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When the plane starts boarding, Lizet and Ricky say their goodbyes. He urges her to call Lourdes when she lands and gets settled... (full context)
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Ricky points out a leak in the ceiling, but when Lizet looks where his finger is... (full context)
Chapter 36
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...wife are their neighbors. Lizet was not the maid of honor at Leidy’s wedding—Lourdes was. Ricky did not attend the event, and Lizet is not even sure if Leidy invited him,... (full context)