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Race, Class, and Masculinity in Julia Alvarez’s How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Race, Class, and Masculinity in Julia Alvarez’s How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents <p>Abstract:</p><p>In <i>How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents</i> (1992), Julia Alvarez narrates the story of immigration and exile of a prominent Dominican family who moves to New York City in the 1960s. The narrative’s privileging of the multiple perspectives of the four sisters—Yolanda, Sofia, Carla, and Sandra—has resulted in literary analysis of the novel focusing on the gendered experience of immigration and exile from a women’s perspective. Among this female-dominated household, however, stands the family patriarch, Carlos Garcia, who also experiences the economic and cultural transition as a political exile from the Dominican Republic to the United States. In the Dominican Republic, he was the patriarch of a prominent elite family. In the United States, he experiences downward economic mobility and becoming dependent on the good graces of white Americans. While he endures the cultural and economic shifts that transpire as a result of migration, he also experiences challenges to his Dominican masculinity, which is primarily defined through honor, economic status, and policing of women’s sexuality. While race, class, and gender power dynamics intersect in Carlos Garcia’s experience, having at times emasculating effects, Alvarez resists representing him as a victim. By providing historical context to his (re)negotiations of masculinity, Alvarez provides a nuanced representation allowing for agency. This paper analyzes the changing role of Carlos Garcia in <i>How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents</i>, and its relationship to ideologies of masculinity in the United States and the Dominican Republic influenced by the imperial relationship between the two countries.</p> http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies University of Nebraska Press

Race, Class, and Masculinity in Julia Alvarez’s How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents

Frontiers: A Journal of Women Studies , Volume 43 (2) – Apr 15, 2022

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Publisher
University of Nebraska Press
Copyright
Copyright © Frontiers Editorial Collective, Inc
ISSN
1536-0334

Abstract

<p>Abstract:</p><p>In <i>How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents</i> (1992), Julia Alvarez narrates the story of immigration and exile of a prominent Dominican family who moves to New York City in the 1960s. The narrative’s privileging of the multiple perspectives of the four sisters—Yolanda, Sofia, Carla, and Sandra—has resulted in literary analysis of the novel focusing on the gendered experience of immigration and exile from a women’s perspective. Among this female-dominated household, however, stands the family patriarch, Carlos Garcia, who also experiences the economic and cultural transition as a political exile from the Dominican Republic to the United States. In the Dominican Republic, he was the patriarch of a prominent elite family. In the United States, he experiences downward economic mobility and becoming dependent on the good graces of white Americans. While he endures the cultural and economic shifts that transpire as a result of migration, he also experiences challenges to his Dominican masculinity, which is primarily defined through honor, economic status, and policing of women’s sexuality. While race, class, and gender power dynamics intersect in Carlos Garcia’s experience, having at times emasculating effects, Alvarez resists representing him as a victim. By providing historical context to his (re)negotiations of masculinity, Alvarez provides a nuanced representation allowing for agency. This paper analyzes the changing role of Carlos Garcia in <i>How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents</i>, and its relationship to ideologies of masculinity in the United States and the Dominican Republic influenced by the imperial relationship between the two countries.</p>

Journal

Frontiers: A Journal of Women StudiesUniversity of Nebraska Press

Published: Apr 15, 2022

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