Free «Revolution and Independence from Dominican Traditions» Essay

Revolution and Independence from Dominican Traditions


The sixth chapter of Laura Garcia’s “How the Girls Lost Their Accents” talks about the disparities between two cultures – the American and Dominican ones. Being a Dominican, the author unravels her experiences after moving to the US with her family. This paper, therefore, outlines the experiences Garcia with reference to the Americanization of the Dominican culture.

The Settlement

The chapter, “Daughter of Invention”, begins by outlining Laura’s arrival to New York, the USA, with her family. She takes the four daughters - Carla, Sandra, Yolanda, and Sofia - to the malls and returns home to invent new household items. Fortunately, Laura reads an article in the newspaper (The New York Times) that interested her. Having already wished to patent a rolling suitcase, she stops the inventions after reading in the papers that someone did the same (Alvarez, 299).

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Laura was troubled that her children wanted to adopt the American lifestyle so she decided to speak with them in English. However, she was not a good speaker of the language herself so often struggled with it. This factor only made her feel less of a good parent. In part, she was convinced that she had been a good mother as a Dominican, but a poor one as an American (Alvarez, 300).

At one moment Laura showed a car bumper’s sketch to one of the daughters, Yolanda, in an attempt to convince her that it was appropriate for picnicking. However, the girls were still disappointed that their mother did not adequately protect them as immigrants. They needed her to help them assimilate to this new home and withstand the discriminative experiences they faced.

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 If only their mother could drop the inventions and guide them through the norms of this new culture, they could be comfortable. Even though Laura believed that the inventions were a perfect match to her daughter’s poetry, Yolanda had a different opinion. She believed that her mother was just wasting time and only her writing deserved recognition. Laura was frustrated that she could not venture in any business activity. As a result, she decided to help with some duties at her husband’s office in Bronx (Alvarez, 301).

Yolanda also rejected her mother’s help when she was humiliated for a speech in school. Her father, Carlos, offered to give advice in Spanish, which the other girls did not understand. With the aid of Whitman Walt, Yolanda wrote a new speech that sounded more English than her Dominican accent. At that moment, Carlos considered taking the family back to his homeland for the sake of being part of the political conditions in the Republic of Dominica. When the teachers confronted her for his daughter’s disobedience and plagiarized work, which her mother supported, Carlos felt like the family had abandoned the Dominican culture in favor of the American one (Alvarez, 303).  

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The Revolution

 The happenings in this chapter depict the American culture as superior to the Dominican culture. Laura’s family arrived in America with no information about the American culture, but that changed with time. She believed that English was a must-learn language and even struggled with speaking it. In fact, she was only successful as a mother in Dominica, but not in America (Alvarez, 299).

The girls viewed their mother’s invention as a waste time. Instead, she should have helped them with their struggles to adapt to the American culture. Yolanda, in particular, believed that poetry writing was better than the inventions. Eventually, Laura abandoned the inventions after about patenting a suitcase in the papers. She even rejected her mother’s assistance in speech writing and opted to plagiarize the Whitman Walt. Probably, she believed that her mother had little English information to help her with the work (Alvarez, 300).

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Due to the fact that the girls did not understand Spanish, Yolanda was disobedient and her mother’s support for the plagiarized work convinced Carlos that his family had fully adopted the American culture at the expense of the Dominican one. Yolanda even called him “Chapita” (a Dominican dictator) when he confronted them. Only Carlos remained dependent to the Dominican culture because he spoke Spanish, and was concerned about the political situation in his country, and even considered returning there with the family (Alvarez, 301).      

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