By Silvio Sirias
Julia Alvarez made her mark at the American literary horizon with the 1991 book of her debut novel How the Garcia ladies misplaced Their Accents, a narrative according to her personal family's bicultural stories. This severe spouse introduces readers to the lifestyles and works of Dominican American author Alvarez and examines the thematic and cultural issues that run via her novels. complete literary research is supplied for every, together with historic context for the factually dependent works, for the time of the Butterflies (1994) and within the identify of Salome (2000). a short biography and a bankruptcy at the Latino novel aid scholars to appreciate the non-public and literary affects in Alvarez's writing.
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Additional resources for Julia Alvarez: A Critical Companion
The Garcı´a family, as is the case with all immigrants, encounters a reality vastly different than their own. The differences, linguistic and cultural, oblige them to devise strategies with which to cope with situations that are both new and bewildering. More importantly, however, it obliges the Garcı´as, individually, to confront their sense of self, to question who they have been their entire lives, and to consider carefully who they are to become. Ranking high on the list of themes Alvarez explores is that of Americanization.
Alvarez provides the reader with an opportunity to learn more about Yolanda by contrasting her with her lover, John, who is one hundred 26 Julia Alvarez percent American (“Joe”). She is impulsive, artistic, and emotional. He is rational, calculating, and distant. The scene that best provides us with a contrast takes place when Yolanda finds a list John has made of the pros and cons of remaining with Yolanda or returning to his wife. When Yolanda discovers, through a rhyme game in which he is unable to access her Spanish-language thoughts, that the cultural gap between her lover and her is too wide to bridge, she has a nervous breakdown and is interned in a psychiatric hospital.
It has been twenty-nine years since they left their birthplace for the United States. She fervently wishes to discover that the island is truly her home. Thus, the reader learns that displacement, the feeling of never knowing where one belongs, is central to Yolanda’s character. Yolanda considers herself a poet (“The Four Girls”). However, she is in the midst of experiencing writer’s block as well as a deep sense of frustration over her career. Yolanda’s desire to become a writer manifested itself at an early age (“Daughter of Invention”).