In " The Stolen Party", by Liliana Heker, what do you think the author means by the phrase "an infinitely delicate balance" in the last sentence?  

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Jane Ames eNotes educator| Certified Educator

The meaning of "an infinitely delicate balance" in the context of this story can be deciphered from Senora Ines's overall behavior and disposition. As a wealthy woman, Senora Ines can provide a fabulous, ornate party for her little one. She can afford the finer things and wants a pleasant and joyful atmosphere to accompany them. She wants to feel both materially and socially wealthy. However, her wealth and status depend upon the fact that there are those who are poor and have less than her, like Rosaura and her mother. Senora Ines wants to be better and have more than others but to give the appearance of kindness and fairness. Herein lies the "delicate balance" to which the author refers.

Senora Ines "didn't dare" draw her hand back from offering Rosaura money. This is because while Senora Ines wants to seem generous and kind by letting Rosaura be treated as the other children at the party, she wants to instill in Rosaura a sense of her place. By offering her money, Senora Ines makes it clear Rosaura is not the same as Luciana or any of the other wealthy children—she is of the "employee" class and always will be. This concept of socio-economic class division is essential to Senora Ines's way of life, and her gesture at the end of the stories solidifies it for Rosaura.

literaturenerd eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Stolen Party", by Liliana Heker, the story closes referring to "an infinitely delicate balance."

The character, Rosaura, is caught off guard when the party's hostess, Sefiora Ines offers her money. With her hand extended, thinking that she is about to receive a yo-yo and bracelet, Rosaura presses against her mother when offered money. Rosaura, a cold look bearing down on Ines, freezes.

Ines, aware that she has crossed a line, knows not what to do. She, as frozen as Rosaura, is afraid to move. She is fearful that she moves, she will "shatter an infinitely delicate balance."

What is meant here is that, to this point, Rosaura has not looked at herself as the child of a cleaning-woman. Instead, the societal class lines for her were not distinguished yet. It is not until Ines offers her the money that she realizes she is not, and will never be, of her class. Rosaura's identity is in jeopardy of being shattered, just like the delicate balance between the tow standing together.