How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Why do you think the lines from the poem by Alt Whitman inspire the daughter to write a speech she feels proud of?

What inspired the daughter to write a speech about what she feels proud of.

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The chapter's allusion to Walt Whitman highlights the American celebration of revolution and innovation that smashes the older generations' values. This cultural ideal is anathema to Dominican society, which is based on rigid hierarchies established by differences in gender and caste, and determined by birth. Laura's surname "de la Torre," for instance, received instant recognition and preferential treatment on the Island due to her family's prestige. In the United States, however, she must prove her worth on her own, and so is inspired to begin inventing and finding resourceful ways to use her energy. The loss of predetermined social status frees Laura to pursue personal growth, and Laura begins to feel that it’s better to be an "independent nobody than a high-class houseslave" (144).