Julia Alvarez American Literature Analysis
Alienation and disorientation in a new country, complexities of family relationships, the place of women in Latino culture, and the politics of class and power in the Dominican Republic are dominant themes in Alvarez’s works. Her personal experiences form the core of her creative endeavors in her poetry as well as fiction.
In her first novel, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, Alvarez draws upon her own experiences to capture the turbulent lives of the García sisters as they navigate the years of adolescence in the new land. In the process, Alvarez touches upon several of her dominant themes. Speaking with an accent, the four girls—Carla, Sandi, Yolanda, and Sofia—are considered outsiders by their peers. Sometimes rejection comes in the garb of stereotyping, as Yolanda realizes in “The Rudy Elmenhurst Story.”
To complicate matters, the parents impose the island code on their daughters. They hold firm that training the girls to be subservient to men and guarding their chastity is the right way of preparing them for life. All around, the mainstream American culture tempts the girls with the vision of freedom and romance. Disorientation, resulting from conflicting expectations, no doubt, accounts for the anorexia of Sandi, nervous breakdown of Yolanda, and the outright rebellion of Sofia.
The tyranny of parental authoritarianism can be seen in “Daughter of Invention.” When Yolanda is assigned to give a...
(The entire section is 2390 words.)
Want to Read More?
Subscribe now to read the rest of Julia Alvarez Critical Essays. Plus get complete access to 30,000+ study guides!