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  1. Introduction.
  2. The Garcia girls forced integration into American culture.
  3. Yolanda's belif and dependance on words.
  4. The character of Sofia.
  5. The cahracter of the eldest sister, Carla.
  6. Sandra's returns to the Dominican Republic.
  7. Conclusion.

Throughout time, people from many different religious and cultural backgrounds have relied on language to communicate effectively with one another. Although there are thousands of various languages, the goal within each is usually the same: to express one's opinion and reveal something that may not have been seen otherwise. Whatever the topic of conversation may be, it is essential for a person to have communication skills. Language, it seems, is something that people take for granted; very rarely does anyone actually pause to consider the very significance of words. Imagine the difficulty that people from vastly different cultures must encounter when attempting to communicate in a completely different language. How does one maneuver? In Julia Alvarez's novel, How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents, four young girls are forced to grow up caught between different languages and contrasting cultural expectations.

[...] Sofia is always the troublemaker; she gets caught with marijuana, she experiments with hair removal cream, and many other forbidden sins. At age sixteen, her parents send her back to the Dominican Republic to (Alvarez 117) her. Up until this time, ?Sofia has been the most ?American' of the girls . however, to make up for her lack of memories, she adapts to Dominican culture quickly, and with a flourish? (Sirias 97). Indeed, when her sisters visit her, they hardly recognize her: looked like the after person in one of those before and after makeovers? (Alvarez 117). [...]


[...] Finally, there is the second sister, Sandra. Sandra's struggle between cultures is perhaps the most difficult because she looks the most American: girl who could pass as American, with soft blue eyes and fair skin? (Alvarez 181). Despite the fact that Sandra possesses their Swedish grandmother's white skin, she has a very difficult time adjusting to American life because she so desperately wants to be proud of her Spanish heritage. While dining at a Mexican restaurant, she becomes overjoyed when she discovers that ?Spanish is something other people paid to be around? (Alvarez 179). [...]


[...] As Julie Barak sums her article, ?Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre: A Second Coming into Language in Julia Alvarez's How the Garcia Girls Lost their Accents:? By the end of the novel it is obvious that Alvarez's title is ironic. [The four sisters] may have lost their accents, literally, but they can never completely lose or erase the memories of their island pasts or of their first language and the world view that supports it. Certainly, it seems that the Garcia girls will forever be changed as a result of their experiences within these two very diverse cultures (Hispanic and American). [...]

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