What is the theme of "The Kiss" in How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents?

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accessteacher eNotes educator| Certified Educator

In "The Kiss," the breakdown in the relationship between Sofia and her father is described, and also their reconciliation. However, the key theme is the different generational values that are identified between Sofia and her father. Her father, being a traditional Dominican male, believes that his daughter should remain virginal and pure and only marry somebody respectable and of a certain position in society. Sofia, now that she has been influenced by American culture, is determined to live her own life and make her own choices, and this is the theme that is highlighted in the following quote, which describes how she reacted to her father opening her private mail and finding out about her sexual relationship with Otto, a German. When her father asks her if she is a whore, she responds:

"It's none of your f***ing business!" she said in a low, ugly-sounding voice like the snarl of an animal who could hurt him. "You have no right, no right at all, to go through my stuff or read my mail!"

The use of the expletive combined with the simile where she is suddenly presented as a creature that "could hurt him" signifies the generational and cultural clash that is occurring here. For a daughter to address her father so in the Dominican Republic would have been unthinkable, as fathers were expected to have authority over their daughters. Now, however, Sofia is able to take initiative herself to reject this role that is forced upon her by her father and make her own decisions and demand that those decisions be respected.

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