Student Question

How does Yolanda's behavior differ in the Dominican Republic and America in Julia Alvarez's ¡Yo!?

Expert Answers

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Yolanda’s journey from the Dominican Republic to America is also a journey from innocence to wisdom.  As a result of this journey, Yolanda acts differently in the two places.

Yolanda’s actions reveal her journey from innocence to wisdom.  When Yolanda is young and living in the Dominican Republic, she is ignorant of the evil and the severity behind the dictatorship of Trujillo.  Her actions indicate this, especially when she watches a movie and insists that her father has a bigger gun than the man in the movie.  Unfortunately, Yolanda is watching the movie at General Molino’s house and, under the Trujillo dictatorship, citizens are not allowed to have guns.  Yolanda is acting out of pride for her father, not out of hatred of the dictatorship (yet).  Unfortunately, this comment about the gun makes Yolanda’s family suspect.  As Yolanda grows and becomes accustomed to the United States, she learns the evil behind the Trujillo dictatorship and acts against it:  Yolanda begins to fight dictatorship through her writing.  In this way, and through her loyalty to her country of origin, Yolanda becomes a successful novelist and writer; however, she does live her life “mostly on paper.”

It is also important to note that Yolanda shares a lot of similarity with the author, Julia Alvarez.  Their actions in the Dominican Republic and America can also be successfully compared.

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