Ariel, a young man who attends an Industrial High School, passes on the 2:08 train every afternoon. He sees the three girls each day in their poses and begins to throw them notes from the train. Ariel says that he likes the Statues. Soon he lets them know that he is transfixed by Letitia. One day, Ariel gets off the train to visit the girls. He is terribly disappointed that Letitia has decided not to come and meet him.
Aunt Ruth lives in the house with the Narrator, Holanda, Letitia, and Mama. She is prone to shrieking and hysterics as she disciplines the girls and sets the rules along with Mama.
Holanda is one of the three adolescent girls who live in the house. The three girls are very close and share a secret world outside by the tracks where they play their game. Holanda and the Narrator, both healthy, alternate between envying Letitia for her greater privileges and being extra kind to her because of her disability.
Letitia, whose name means joy, is the center of the story. She is one of the three adolescent girls living in the house. Letitia has a physical disability that leaves her partially paralyzed and often in pain. The Narrator envies her as she gets special privileges due to her disability.
Letitia is the leader of the three girls. She is the creator of the game of Statues and Attitudes, and only she can give the signal that it is time to play. When she is in a pose, her disability is not noticeable. Ariel becomes smitten with her and plans to come and meet her. She cannot bear to let him know about her disability and instead writes him a note, the contents of which are never revealed to the reader. The last time Ariel sees her, she is bedecked in precious jewels taken without permission from Mama and Aunt Ruth, and she is in an unforgettably regal pose with tears streaming down her face.
Mama is a disciplinarian along with Aunt Ruth. She is prone to hysterics, and she chases Holanda and the Narrator around the house when they misbehave, screaming that they will end up on the street. However, Mama treats Letitia quite differently than she treats the Narrator and Holanda; Letitia is nursed and taken care of and not expected to do household chores. Many of the girls’ actions are hidden from Mama, and the Narrator takes pleasure in imagining what might happen if Mama found out their secrets.
The reader never learns the name of the Narrator. She is one of three adolescent girls living in the house with Mama and Aunt Ruth. The best part of the Narrator’s day is going out to the ‘‘Kingdom’’ near the train tracks and playing the game, Attitudes and Statues. The game of fantasy seems more real to the Narrator than does her time spent in the house doing chores or dealing with Mama and Aunt Ruth.
At the beginning of the story, the Narrator believes that Letitia’s disability is actually an advantage because it gives her special privileges. However, things change when the boy on the train falls in love with Letitia. The Narrator then realizes that Letitia has a terrible cross to bear, that only in the game can she pretend she does not have a disability. Facing this reality is a coming of age of sorts for the Narrator as well as for the other two girls; once they face it, they never play their childhood game again.
Sara Constantakis – Short Stories for Students – Presenting Analysis, Context & Criticism on Commonly Studied Short Stories, vol. 31, Julio Cortazar, Published by Gale Group, 2010