How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents Questions and Answers
by Julia Alvarez

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How do descriptions of the girls being "like dolls in mourning" & living in a "wide-eyed classroom" add to understanding?

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Jamie Wheeler eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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It's been a while since I've read this, but as I recall the Garcia girls are experiencing quite a bit of culture shock when they make their move from the Dominican Republic to New York City.

I would think that being "dolls in mourning" would refer to the masks they feel they have to wear to "fit in" to American culture while internally they pine for home (thus the "mourning").

As for being "wide-eyed" I expect this comes from the overwhelming sensory overload of being in NYC after the relatively slow-paced life of the Caribbean.  Both descriptions help the reader feel the displacement, loss, and discomfort of the Garcia girls in their adopted homeland.

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