How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

by: Julia Alvarez

The Human Body

Summary The Human Body

Yolanda's enjoyment of A Thousand and One Arabian Nights foreshadows her later development as a writer and storyteller. The clay form that Mundin uses to tempt Yolanda into sin and trouble in the coal shed recalls Eve's fall from grace due to the serpent's temptation in Genesis. The story of Adam and Eve is a fundamental parable of gender difference that underlies Catholic attitudes toward sex and gender.

The Human Body doll represents a clinical and academic understanding of the body, something the children generally were not permitted to access when it related to sexuality. Within Dominican culture the female children would not have access to sex education the way they might in the American educational system. Yolanda's desire to get the doll from her male cousin could represent a her wish to even out the sexual double standard as it related to sex education and awareness. Certainly Mundin has the upper hand when convincing the girls to show him their genitals, since he does not have to make a similar sacrifice for them. Mundin's comment that the girls only looked like dolls could indicate a future penchant for objectifying women's bodies.

The destruction of the Human Body doll represents the fact that once innocence is tainted by the brutal realities of life, all the pieces that once added up to a coherent whole will not fit together anymore. This process could foreshadow Yolanda's future disillusionment with love, sex, and marriage.