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How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

In: English and Literature

Submitted By cmaldonado710
Words 1129
Pages 5
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 many examples throughout the novel that depict the female characters as trying to both challenge and conform to the tradition gender roles expected of them by their traditional Dominican heritage. Sofia (Fifi), the youngest of the sister challenged and conformed at times many of the traditional general roles expected of her by her patriarchal culture. It can be argued that Fifi assimilated to the American society’s gender roles quicker and easier than her sisters because she was the youngest when they moved to America she only really experienced her traditional Hispanic culture when going back to spend summers with her extended family. During one of Sofia’s extended stays in the Dominican Republic she did conform to the gender roles that were expected of her there, much to the disapproval of her sisters. “We [the other sisters] begin to get the long view, and it’s not so pretty. Lovable Manuel is quite the tyrant, a mini papa and mami rolled into one. Fifi can’t wear pants in public. Fifi can’t talk to another man. Fifi can’t leave the house without his permission. And what’s most disturbing is that Fifi, feisty, lively Fifi, is…...

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