“Make Your Home Among Strangers”: Influence Of Childhood On Life

Where do you call home? Is home a place, a person or a thing. Well home is something that makes you feel comfortable, free, happiest, and most importantly feel like yourself.

“Make Your Home Among Strangers” by Jennine Capó Crucet follows the story of a first generation Cuban- American student, Lizet Ramirez. The book starts off from present day, where Lizet is a manager at a research laboratory studying coral reefs, but a majority of the story takes place during her first year at Rawling College. Lizet must manage the expectations of her family and her school, in which her struggles are heightened by her mother, Lourdes’, involvement with the case of Ariel Hernandez, her older sister Leidy, and her father Ricky, who recently left the family. I will analyze Make Your Home Among Strangers using the Freudian Psychoanalysis theory, which basically states how previous events affect someone in their later years. Lizet and Leidy growing up watching her toxic parents relationship caused Lizet to become more secretive and Leidy to want the things she never had growing up. Lizet falling into the canal as a child has impacted her adult life because she became more of secretive person by coming home for Thanksgiving, applying to out of state schools, and also initially not letting her parents know about her summer internship/research program in California, while it forced Leidy to try and create her own make makeshift familyPsychoanalysis is a type of therapy that aims to release pent-up or repressed emotions and memories to lead to client healing. The goal is to bring someone from the unconscious level up to the consciousness level, which is accomplished through different forms of therapy including talking.

During the therapy, therapist talk about the things that matter most and taking them farther past the surface level. Freudian Psychoanalysis was created by the founding father of psychoanalysis, Sigmund Freud who was born in Austria, but spent most of his childhood life in Vienna. In 1881, Freud earned a degree in neurology and later began a private practice treating patients with psychological orders. Freudian psychoanalysis is a theory that contains the mental state of someone’s mind. McLeod, S. (2009) says “The primary assumption of the Freudian theory is that the unconscious mind governs behavior to a greater degree than people suspect”. Also according to McLeod, S. (2009) “The preconscious contains thoughts and feelings that a person is not currently aware of, but which can easily be brought to consciousness”. The preconscious is basically where all your thoughts stored, but aren’t used until they are needed. According to McLeod, S. (2009), “The unconscious contains all sorts of significant and disturbing material which we need to keep out of awareness because they are too threatening to acknowledge fully”. The goal is to make the unconscious conscious and by doing so you find that the events in one’s earlier life can have either a positive or negative affect in their later years of life.Anna O was one of Freud most associated cases even though he didn’t treat her.

Anna O was born February 27th, 1859 in Vienna, Austria to Siegmund and Recha Pappenheim. Anna had younger brother and two older sisters who all grew up relatively privileged household. At the age of eight her sister died from tuberculosis. In 1880, Anna’s father contracted tuberculosis, so Anna decided she was going to take care for him, but he later died in April of the following year. During her father's illness, Anna began to consult with Josef Breuer about the symptoms relating to her illness. Prior to her illness, Anna had lived a healthy life until her devotion for caring for her sick father began to take a toll on her, up until a point where she was prevented from seeing him.There were four stage of Anna O’s illness which included latent incubation, manifest illness, intermittent sommanublism, and recovery. In the latent incubation stage, the signs of the illness would not be noticeable, but in Anna’s case the systompns were clearly observable. Stage two was manifest illness where the symptoms were the most severe, in Anna’s case she was headed in the right direction until her father passed in 1881, an event that greatly affected Anna. the concern with her suicidal tendencies forced her to be moved to a house in Vienna, from the third floor residence. The third stage is intermittent somnambulism, the stage where you began to return to normal behavior. The final stage was recovery, where Anna undertook a slow recovery from her illness.Anna’s symptoms included paralysis, involuntary eye movements, hydrophobia, fear of water, lethargy, and language difficulties. She was eventually diagnosed with hysteria, where she spent most of the daytime in a state of anxiety and hallucinating about skeletons and black snakes. Anna was later treated with talking therapy, which was basically daily conversations about her problems. Anna would often tell stories that would involve sitting by a sick person’s beside, which would go back to Anna taking care of her sick father.

According to Waude, A. (2016) “Anna also recalled a event when she was younger and had a glass of water. She recalled seeing her nanny’s dog, whom she did not like, approach the glass and take a drink from it, causing her to be repulsed at the thought of sharing her glass with the dog. Breuer attributed this traumatic experience to her inability to drink water.” This event that happened earlier in her life caused her to be develop hydrophobia. Examples of Freudian psychoanalysis include a child is adopted at a young age and for manys years the child displayed forms of anger and aggression towards the adopted family. The anger steamed from the way her parents and former foster families treated her and the anger was really directed at her birth parents and former foster families and not her adoption parents. Another example includes at a young age your sibling dies. Later on in life you find out that your about to have a baby and you become terrified to have children because you are scared that your child will die at a young age. Another example would be at a young age a child’s mother left the family. Ever since then the child had a hard time trusting other people because they were afraid that they would also leave from out their life.In Make Your Home Among Strangers Lizet recalls the story of when she snuck off to the canal.

J. C. (2015) says “When I was three years old and left under the temporary supervision of my then five year old sister while my mother spoke with our backyard neighbor, I marched into the garage and rummaged through piles of old-clothes-turned-cleaning-rags and half empty bottles of detergents and oils, found the floaties used to buoy me in the Atlantic ocean, and blew them up on my way across the street to the water..... I took several huge, shoulder raising breaths before launching myself into the canal’s crowded water. In some versions I pinch my nose; in some I know to breathe out through it as I hit the water; and in others still the water rushes into me through this and other openings, mandating that I be prescribed antibiotics the minute my parents, who take embarrassingly long to discover me floating across the street, explain to the triage nurse in the hospital's emergency room from where it is I’d just been pulled....But every version ends with almost the same lines: she was fine! All the worrying, all that time and money and crying wasted-and for what? She was fine. It made us want to kill her.”Lizet sneaking off and falling into the canal has definitely affected Lizet’s adulthood life. Lizet became more of a secretive person because she didn’t receive the support she was expecting after falling into the canal.

Both her parents said “She was fine”, but in her own mind she probably wasn’t, so as time went on she became a secretive person. For example in Make Your Home Among Strangers Lizet explains how she secretly planned to surprise her mother Lourdes and sister, Leidy. J. C. (2015) says “I was not supposed to come home for Thanksgiving. It was not in the budget, or el college lay-a-way” (pg 6). She had came home anyway, but she didn’t receive the welcoming she wanted. When Lizet went to knock on the door of her mother's house, they first acted like know one was home and then Lizet was greeted with “what the fuck are you doing here? Lizet was also set on the back burner due to Ariel Hernandez, the Cuban boy who had came to Miami after being rescued. Lizet was expecting more support and compassion from the two, but aside from the Ariel Hernandez incident it was sort of like a normal day to them. Her mother cared more about Ariel and her sister was mad that she didn’t tell her she was coming.Lizet sneaking off and falling into the canal caused her to become more of a secretive person later on in life because she didn’t receive the support she expected. For instance, Lizet not telling her parents about applying to out of state colleges. While finding out she had been accepted to Rawlings college she J. C. (2015) says “I folded the letter back into the envelope and ran on my tiptoes to the house, already knowing none of my reasons would work: unlike Dante, my parents hadn’t been warned this was coming. And unlike Leidy, I couldn’t even try for a little while to pretend this was an accident” (pg 35).

Lizet knew she wanted to go to Rawlings even though she didn’t know how to tell her parents. When Lizet finally gained enough confidence to tell her parents about applying J. C. (2015) says “But my betrayal that is the word my parents used over and over for what I’d done” (pg 36). Her parents ended up separating after she told them. Lizet knew that her parents would feel betrayed by her, so she decided to hide it. She knew she wouldn’t support her decision to go to Rawlings. This further reinforces the point of Lizet becoming more of a secretive person. As a child she didn’t receive the support she wanted/expected so as she grew older she stopped telling people about important events in her life to avoid being disappointed. Lizet wasn’t aware of her subconscious desire to feel supported by her parents, which made her become more of a secretive and private person.Another example of Lizet becoming more of secretive person towards her parents is when she had been offered an internship for a research laboratory in California. Instead of thinking to call her own parents first, she wanted to call Jillian’s parents because she knew they would offer the support she always wanted. The support her parents never gave her, even when after she fell into the canal as a child. J. C. (2015) thought Jillian’s parents would say “Oh my god, honey! That’s fantastic! When does it start? Maybe we can come out at the end and make a vacation out of it. Oh, sweetheart, what an opportunity! We’re thrilled for you, so thrilled....” (pg 284).

When Lizet thought about telling her parents, J. C. (2015) says “The moment I told either parent would be the moment the news started to erode, to be questioned and confused” (pg 284). It helps reinforce the idea of freudian psychoanalysis. Lizet’s past experience of not receiving any support molded her into becoming a secretive person. It was ingrained in her mind that her parents wouldn’t be supportive of her decision, whether that be to stay or to go, so instead she didn’t tell them so she wouldn’t get her hopes tore down.Another example of freudian psychoanalysis is Leidy, Lizet’s sister attempt at trapping her boyfriend by having a baby. Growing up Lizet and Leidy’s parents always argued. J. C. (2015) says “Leidy and I knew to listen for the word. Are you fucking crazy, Lourdes?-- which ment time to go outside, get in the grass on our hands and knees, and look for mom’s wedding ring. They fought constantly” (pg 29). They had been together since high school, so they stayed together just because they didn’t know any better, even though the relationship was toxic. So toxic that it caused Leidy to go out and create her own makeshift family. According to J. C. (2015) “Leidy decided to force the issue and stopped taking the pill” and later that day she took a pregnancy test and found out she was pregnant (pg33). J. C. (2015) also says“Leidy correctly predicted Roly’s freak-out, but she didn’t predict him leaving once she confessed...that she stopped taking her birth control and had purposely not informed him of that decision”(pg 34). Using the freudian psychoanalysis lens you see Leidy’s unconscious desire to have the family she always wanted, so much to the extent that went out and tried to trap her boyfriend, Rolando, into proposing to her by having a baby to have the family she always wanted.In conclusion, freudian psychoanalysis, which was created by Sigmund Freud, is a theory in which events in your childhood affect your adulthood or later stages of life.

In Make Your Home Among Strangers, the events that happened in Lizet’s and Liedy’s childhood had a major impact on their later stages of life. After falling into the canal Lizet didn’t receive the support she wanted/expected so in her later stage she became more secretive so that her hopes wouldn’t get crushed. While growing up watching and living within a toxic relationship between her parents, Leidy tried to trap her boyfriend into proposing to her so that she could have her own big happy family, but it didn’t work. As scene in the book, the past events do have an effect in someone’s life.

03 December 2019
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