How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents


How the García Girls Lost Their Accents is a 1991 novel written by Dominican-American poet, novelist, and essayist Julia Alvarez. Told in reverse chronological order and narrated from shifting perspectives, the text possesses distinct qualities of a bildungsroman novel. Spanning more than thirty years in the lives of four sisters, the story begins with their adult lives in the United States and ends with their childhood in the Dominican Republic, from which their family was forced to flee due to the father’s opposition to Rafael Leónidas Trujillo's dictatorship.

The novel's major themes include acculturation and coming of age. It deals with the myriad hardships of immigration, painting a vivid picture of the struggle to assimilate, the sense of displacement, and the confusion of identity suffered by the García family, as they are uprooted from familiarity and forced to begin a new life in New York City. The text consists of fifteen interconnected short stories, each of which focuses on one of the four daughters, and in a few instances, the García family as a whole. Although it is told from alternating perspectives there is particular focus throughout the text on the character of Yolanda, who is said to be the both the protagonist and the author's alter ego.

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