Julia Alvarez

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What is the central theme of Julia Alverez's poem, "The Dusting?"

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Crawford Runte eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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This poem concerns a young girl’s early attempts at self-definition. Her perpetual scribbling is, in essence, an insistent yearning to remember her inner self and to remain true to her dreams. She leaves reminders of her “self” everywhere, in hopes of leaving a mirrored and indelible imprint on her own heart. The dusty furniture serves as the palette for her self-defining artistry. She writes in “script”, “capitals”, and “scrawl”, experimenting with the beautifully crafted name that represents the individual she is to become. She is certain that she does not want to emulate her mother’s “anonymous” example.

Her feelings regarding her mother are not antagonistic. Rather, she simply wants a more remarkable and distinguished future for herself. Her dreams do not include days spent dusting furniture and cleaning house. She uses her creatively scribbled name as a personal mantra, a frequent reminder of her goals in life. As often as she repeats the action of writing her name in the dust, she inscribes her dream on her heart.

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arenee | Student

This poem depicts part of Julia Alvarez's life. As a child, she was forced to move to the United States from the Dominican Republic. Her poem describes her struggle to keep her Dominican identity in the United States' culture.

manasvikulshrestha | Student

I think the central theme of the poem is that the girl wants to be better than her mother. she wants to leave her imprints everywhere while she considers that her mother performs all meaningless jobs and remains anonymous. Poem emphasizes on the fact that how children fail to appreciate the work their parents do for them and they always want to be a step ahead of them. After all, had her mother not done dusting she would not have time to explore her ideas. she wants to dust away the traditions of her family and be famous.

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