How Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents – Julia Alvarez

by Julia Alvarez is a multifaceted novel about identity, family conflict, coming of age, meaning of language, immigration, race, culture clash.  The novel revolved around four sisters, Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia, who were, along with their parents exiled from their native Dominican Republic, due to their father’s political views. A life in New York City is very different than the life they led in Dominican Republic. Instead of life of opulence, their lives undergo major cultural and economic transitions and discord. “We didn’t feel we had the best the United States had to offer. We had only second-hand stuff, rental houses in one redneck Catholic neighborhood after another” (107).”

The novel is presented in reverse chronological order, starting from adulthood and going back into girls’ childhoods. The reason I picked this book is because it presents a bigger picture of multiculturalism. In our Lee County, predominant number of students is of Hispanic origin, and this novel not only tells a story of racism and hardships that the Garcia family encounters in America, but it tells of internal struggles of each individual. Perhaps, even more importantly, this novel breaks the stereotype of immigrants coming to America to find a “better” life.  By all means, the Garcias lived an abundant life of high society with all its attributes. Coming to America did not result in a higher standard of living but rather the opposite.

The story spans across three decades and shows a more complete picture of cultural assimilation, integration, and clash of cultural norms through the life stages of Garcia family.

For  “How Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents” Lesson Plan go to: http://tinyurl.com/82c56sy

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