Part 1: Choose one chapter in Julia Alvarez’s novel How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents and write a 2- to 2½-page essay that interprets its meaning, paying special attention to issues of diversity, marginalization or oppression relevant to our class: e.g., the experience of women and girls in a sexist or patriarchal society, economic inequality or class oppression, racism, the experience of immigrants in an unwelcoming society, etc.
Note that Alvarez often combines these issues in ways that suggest their interconnection or complexity, but since your essay will be short, you may wish to focus on just one (or possibly two) of the issues explored in the chapter. For example, the chapter titled “Floor Show” certainly looks at inequalities of class and nationality (the girls’ parents lost economic and social status when they immigrated to the U.S. from the Dominican Republic) but the main focus of the chapter is arguably Sandy’s socialization into a specific idea of femininity associated with a Barbie doll prettiness. How and why she embraces this idea or identity and what it means that she does so can be discussed without talking about her parents’ struggles as recent immigrants, though they are connected.
Once again, your essay should focus on an issue or question that you can cover more or less fully within the 2- to 2½-pages asked for here. Make sure that your essay has a debatable thesis and clear argument about the issue explored in the chapter and why it is significant. You should also be sure to support your thesis or claim with sufficient evidence from the text in the form of specific details and relevant quotations.
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