How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

by: Julia Alvarez

Floor Show

Though Sandra seeks a respite from American culture, she cannot separate herself in a fantasy of passion and artistry for long. The issue of class also interrupts her family's fantasy of luxury. Especially for a child like Sandra, who had been spoiled in the Dominican Republic by her family's wealth and social position, it was difficult to transition into a social setting where her family name earned her no particular respect or extravagance. For her father, the shame of his inability to provide his family with the same wealth and prestige they had enjoyed at home leads to a sense of powerlessness. His desire to fit into the American culture leaves him unprepared to deal with an unexpected situation, and he is mortified by the idea of scandalizing his family and his benefactor by exposing Mrs. Fanning's indiscretion.

Ironically, despite the family being on their best behavior, the evening turns out to be an enormous embarrassment for all involved. Sandra uses this awkward moment to get a doll, perhaps indicating that she will be able to manipulate social situations in her new culture to get what she wants materially.