How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

by: Julia Alvarez


Carlos agitated against Trujillo's military dictatorship, which led to his family's flight from the Dominican Republic to the United States. As a doctor, he must face the humiliation of having to reestablish his professional reputation and credentials, as not being able to provide for his family in the manner they were used to back home on the Island. He also has difficulty accepting that his daughters will mature and assimilate into American culture. He fights with his daughters when they show a spark of independence or individuality, and insist that they must behave as Dominican women would, even though this is an unrealistic expectation. Because he left the Dominican Republic as a mature man, and his daughters left when they were young children, he is in many ways culturally distinct from them. They have trouble tolerating his Dominican values when they clash with the American attitudes they have adopted regarding sexuality and gender relations.