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How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
Transcript of How The Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents
by, Julia Alvarez
"The Four Girls" Carla, Sandra, Yolanda and Sofia Garcia move out of the classic Dominican Republic ways of life, to the modern, lower class United States. Their mother stuck in her classy, original traditions is not satisfied with this new city like setting. She seems to believe it is changing her daughters and taking them away from what they know best as they get into mischief, romance and education.
The Garcia girls are struggling to adapt with their immigration. American and Dominican lifestyles are very different and they must accommodate both so that they can succeed in school and please their family.
The Four Girls: Yolanda, Sandra, Carla, Sofia
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Yolanda has returned to the Dominican Republic for the first time in five years after attending school in the United States. Aunts, grandparents and family critique her on her new modern appearance and lack of spanish knowledge.
Sofia never got along with her father and she believed it was time for a change. Since their father was returning home, she decided to throw a welcome party for him with her new husband and kid. Carlos her father never approved of her and her activity in her relationships and claimed she has given him a bad reputation as a father.
Yolanda has realized that after attempting to accommodate appearance and style in the Americas, she no longer fits in with her family either. Her family bonds are breaking
The Four Girls
In this chapter we learn about the daughters relationship together. They were all very different in preferences and occupations but supported each other no matter what.
Dealing with Sandra's anorexia and mental breakdown, her mother is also worrying about Sofia's dispute with her father, and Yolanda's trouble with her future. Reminiscing on childhood stories, the mother remembers her daughters proudly and is forgiving of them.
A Regular Revolution
After being taken to a boarding school, the four girls learned new American habits that were rebellious and against their parents beliefs. Going out to parties, having affairs and trying drugs, they hid it for as long as the could until their parents suggested that for the summer they return to the Dominican Republic.
When finally home on the island, Sofia is caught with marijuana in her room. Instead of returning to the American boarding school with her sisters, she is forced to live on the island for a whole year.
During the Christmas break, the other sisters return home to find Sofia's new relationship is unhealthy and toxic. The other three girls report to their parents that Sofia's new relationship is bad news and gets her in trouble. Sofia feels as if the sisters have betrayed her and now refers to them as "traitors".
This chapter is significant and important because Yolanda finds a kitten and takes her to keep and hides it in her drum. She does this because her and her sisters were taken away from their homes at a young age, had to live a while without it, which is what she did to the kitten.
Setting: The settings include the Garcia home on the Dominican Republic, and in New York. During 1956-1989
This immigration has created tension between everyone in the family. The girls getting into trouble and the "American habits" of parties, relationships and drugs leads their mother into more stress over their well being.
Sofia and her father Carlos never got along well. She has disobeyed all of his orders and believes he is unfair. Ever since she had her first relationship their bond has broken and they never fully regained trust.
There are many conflicts in this novel, mainly being external. They are all dealing with change and the people around them changing, or making them think poorly as well.
Yolanda is a dynamic character as well as the other three girls. Through the book she matures through her educational struggles and grows as a woman, learning from decisions she regretted.
Sandra, also a dynamic character has grown throughout the book. Her emotionally unstable mind set matured and stabilized itself. Leaving her to be more understanding and stronger in the end.
Carla is a dynamic character. She longed for home on the island and didn't enjoy the change of moving to a new country. Through her bullying she pulled through and learn to adapt and enjoy her new location.
Sofia is a dynamic character. Being the youngest one, she hasn't always made the best decisions. By the end she was understood her responsibilities and what was right and wrong. Although, her issues with her father still remain,
Relationship To Cultural Goal
This relates to the cultural goal because the story is about a Garcia family from the Dominican Republic and how immigration is difficult. Many people in hispanic countries deal with this same problem today. Also, the novel contains a lot of spanish vocabulary in their dialogues.
The author Julia Alvarez is also from the Dominican Republic herself.
I recommend this book only if you can be mature enough to handle it. This book is meant for younger adults and has some mature content. Otherwise the story line is exciting, full of drama, and gives you a touch of hispanic flare by introducing you to some hispanic traditions and new vocabulary.
antojo- whim, fancy
un santo- holy, saint
docile- easily managed or handled.
In this book I would say the themes are to never give up although things may seem hard, and to always stick with your family no matter how annoying they may be. I say this because immigrating to a new country and trying to fit in is hard. Moving to a new school and making all new friends seemed hard and awkward for me at first but in the end it was all worth it. The four girls struggled at first but turned out to be better and they had fun. During the big move tension was built in the family and everyone was ready to snap. The mother was uptight, the girls got in trouble and the dad was absent during the madness. They stayed together though and helped each other out a lot through their hard times no matter how much they thought they didn't like each other.
About the Author
Julia Alvarez was born in New York but her parents were Dominican and ended up spending the first ten years of her life their. Until, like in How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, her family was forced to flee because of political rebellion. She attended Connecticut College, Syracuse University and Middlebury College. Her first published work was "The Homecoming" published in 1984. Ever since then she produced five novels, three other collections of poetry, four children books, and two more adolescent fiction novels leaving her one of the best commercial Latina writers. Her writings relate to the Dominican Culture and typically about people finding their true identity through difficult circumstances.
The chapter " The Drum" was significant to me. In this chapter Carla talks about finding a kitten and taking it away from its home and taking it with her as her own. This was significant because it was symbolic, The kitten reminded her of being taken from the island at such a long age and having to survive under new conditions in an unfamiliar territory. Although scarred by her transition, she just wanted someone else to know what she was going through. Also in one of the earlier passages, Yolanda is talking about guavas. Those remind her of her child hood and is also a popular fruit grown in hispanic countries like the Dominican Republic. Also which was symbolic because it reminded her of her past and all of the types of guavas there were. Some that were ripe and delicious, some were only good when you got to the core, and some were just sour. Kind of like some of the conflicts she faces during her life in the book.