How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents Essay

1116 Words Mar 22nd, 2013 5 Pages
One of the main sources of tension in How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, written by Julia Alvarez, are the sisters search for a personal identity among contrasting cultures. Many of the characters felt pressure from two sources, the patriarchal culture that promotes traditional gender roles and society of nineteen-sixties and seventies America. Dominican tradition heavily enforces the patriarchal family and leaves little room for female empowerment or individuality, whereas in the United States, the sixties and seventies were times of increasingly liberal views and a rise in feminist ideals. This conflict shaped the identities of the characters in Alvarez’s novel and often tore the characters apart for one another. Alvarez gives …show more content…
When Sofia was with Manuel her mother sent her to Dominican Republic as a punishment for finding a bag of marijuana behind a bureau. Smoking was just one of the ways Sofia tested what was expected of her. Sofia also was able to find her sexual independence in America. At one point in her life, she was never without a boyfriend. She was brave and was her own person throughout most of the novel , but as soon as she was with a man that expected certain things from her and in a place where society agreed with those demands everything changed. Geological setting did not only affect Sofia’s beliefs in a patriarchal culture. The girls noticed a difference in the way their cousin Mundin treated them. “When he’s in the States, he’s one of us, our buddy. But back on the Island, he struts and turns macho; needling us with unfair advantage being male here gives him.” (127)
The complications with learning to live in completely new surroundings and new liberties also affected Yolanda (Yoyo/Joe). Alvarez mentions a monkey experiment that Carla read about in a psych class of hers. “These baby monkeys were kept in a cage so long, they wouldn’t come out when the doors were finally left open. Instead they stayed inside and poked their arms through the bars for their food, just out of reach.” (131) this passage strongly relates back to Yolanda’s character. In the scenario involving