When William Luis speaks of the girls in the novel he refers to the title as a both symbolic and literal representation of the events which occur throughout. The author of the article writes about how the girls face great difficulty in establishing their roots in the North American landscape. Facing difficulties in the acclimation process while trying to preserve what they can of their Dominican heritage. Carlos, the father of Garcia girls wishes his daughters to fully and openly embrace American culture, in keeping with this need they are sent to the most expensive private school available ‘for the purpose of losing their Spanish accent when speaking English (Luis 842).’ Yet he himself does not allow the culture to change and still sees himself as the stereotypical Dominican male who prides himself on his dignity and sees his own authority as being absolute (Luis, 2000).
The mother Alvarez is in many ways a tragic figure in the novel, since she still identifies herself as a Dominican stepmother with North American stepdaughters. She herself struggles to balance the Dominican and American culture and simply finds herself constantly at odds with her daughters, her environment, even her students as she struggles to try and stay true to her roots. According to Luis the Novel itself is a celebration of this exploration since even though it is in English and has an English tone; the way it is presented chronologically backwards is more in keeping with a Hispanic author rather than an American one (Luis, 2000).
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