The following question refers to "Daughter of Invention" by Julia Alvarez.
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The confusion the girls feel at trying to become "American" is especially emphasized by the fact that neither their father or their mother can help them transition into using English comfortably. Yolanda tries to find American language to use in her speech, including using something from Walt Whitman. Yolanda's father is so incensed by this, believing that in some way she is not quite using English correctly, that he tears up the speech. He fears that the girls will become Americanized in ways he disapproves of.