Julia Alvarez develops the character of Yolanda Garcia in some different and similar ways in her two books How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and its sequel !Yo!. The reasons for the differences in the two characterizations of Yolanda is that there is almost no continuity concerning her character in the two books-meaning that all the specific details of Yolanda’s life given to the reader in the first book are different (not continued nor elaborated upon) in the sequel. It was almost like reading about two different characters that just happened to have the same family and happen to have immigrated to the United States from the Dominican Republic. For example, in the first book Yolanda goes to graduate school, becomes a teacher, and only shows interest in writing poetry. She also marries a man named John after having fallen in love with a young man named Rudy in college. In the second book Yolanda does not go to graduate school, in fact, she almost does not get her bachelor’s degree because she elopes with a young man named Darryl Dubois. She does become a teacher, but she publishes mainly prose-short stories and novels-not poetry. Whereas, the similarity in the two different characterizations of Yolanda is that she is definitely assimilated to American culture, yet her Old World values and lifestyle also influence her.
In both books it is clear that Yolanda has successfully assimilated to American culture. Unlike her parents-first generation immigrants-who never gain a complete mastery of the English language, Yolanda masters the language and excels in school. In the second book, one of her college professors has the f…
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…Old World roots and that its traditional values still have a significant impact on her. Yolanda must continually reconnect with her Old World roots to fulfill her destiny of passing on her family’s heritage/story to future generations.
Alvarez, Julia. How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents. New York: Plume, 1991.
– – – . !Yo!. New York: Plume, 1997.
Alvarez, Julia. Something to Declare: Essays. New York: Plume, 1998.
Barak, Julie. “‘Turning and Turning in the Widening Gyre’: A Second Coming into Language in Julia Alvarez’s How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents,” MELUS Spring (1998), http://www.findarticles.com/cf_0/m2278/1_23/53501904/print.jhtml. Accessed 04/07/2001.
The Author Project. “Julia Alvarez.” http://ahs.aps.edu/authorproject/juliaalvarez.html. Accessed 04/07/2001.
A Comparison of Love in Secrets and Lies and Beloved
Suffocating Love in Secrets and Lies and Beloved
Each person in today’s society has a different definition of love. One’s idea of love
is determined by his or her experiences, emotions, and influences. This definition is
pondered and revised an infinite number of times throughout one’s life. The meaning
changes as he or she experiences different relationships based on love: parent-child,
priest-parishioner, teacher-student, pet-owner. These relationships alter perspectives on the meaning of love. Oftentimes, an experience causes a person to incorrectly, or
unhealthily, define love; however, my experiences have caused me to have a healthy and
positive definition of love. Since each relationship is characterized by a different kind of love, each person has various definitions for this emotion. Mother-daughter love has greatly shaped my life. In my experience as a daughter and also by observing relationships in society, I have learned that the main role of a parent is to protect and teach their child in order to prepare them for the world which they will enter as an adult. This need to protect and guide a child is encompassed by the definition of mother-daughter love. I define love as an unconditional concern for a daughter, characterized by the desire to guide her and protect her from unhappiness and hurt while allowing her room to make her own decisions and mistakes. This love is unconditional because however her daughter acts, feels, or lives, a mother provides support and compassion for her child. In order for this love to be healthy, the mother’s need to protect her child must be balanced with the realization that her daughter needs room to make her own decisions and mistakes. This is what separa…
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… with possessive love, many mothers are guilty of depriving their daughters of a sense of self and a chance to make their own decisions and mistakes. This control and lack of space can negatively affect a child with effects which may manifest as early as childhood or as late as adulthood. However, this unhealthy love seems to pass from mother to daughter causing a disastrous domino effect if not stopped. All mothers are
given a gift. It is a shame that some do not give this gift ample room to grow and develop in a way which would be satisfying to both the daughter and mother.
Morrison, Toni. Beloved. New York: Plume Printing, 1987.
Secrets and Lies. Dir. Mike Leigh. Perf. Brenda Blethyn and Marianne Jean-Baptiste. Simon Channing-Williams, 1997