Julia Alvarez's "Daughter of Invention" is a short story about the cultural adjustments of a family who flee the revolutionary Dominican Republican and immigrate to New York. In the family's enthusiasm to assimilate into American culture, the mother strives to invent something useful to Americans in their daily lives, while the daughters simply desire to be accepted and not called names.
However, in her enthusiasm to breathe and exhale the free-spirited air of independent America, the narrator enthusiastically embraces Walt Whitman's avant-garde celebration of "the self" and writes a speech in a tone that her father feels is entirely wrong for its occasion, Teacher's Day. This assignment and the daughter's efforts to compose a speech inspired by Whitman is the rising action of Alvarez's story. When the father, who cannot overcome his fear of the political leaders in his own country who drove him into exile, overreacts to his daughter's speech, the climax of the story occurs. After this emotional and frightened outburst of the father, who tears the speech into pieces, the mother's misquoted adage, "Necessity is the daughter of invention" goes into effect. For, she and her understanding mother--of both her husband and her daughter--work throughout the night piecing together a speech. The next day, the "daughter of invention" reports that the faculty was delighted with the speech. The father, who regrets his emotional and fearful outburst, buys his daughter a long-desired typewriter.