In her autobiographically based novel, How the García Girls Lost Their Accents, Julia Alvarez honors the complexities of Dominican history through her refusal to classify the Garcías clearly as victims or oppressors. Instead, she reveals that the protagonist (her own alter-ego) is simultaneously a casualty of and an heir to the forces of colonialism; Yolanda has inherited what Donaldson has called the Miranda Complex, referring to Prospero's daughter in The Tempest. Unlike Miranda, Alvarez's characters cannot recover the losses that have victimized them and their countrymen in the past; however, their inheritance does offer a means of memorializing the absence of collective history, thus revealing the cost of that loss to victims and perpetrators alike. Alvarez reifies this historical theme through the novel's structure, its gaps and omissions, its pervasive motifs of loss and alienation, and its heteroglossic nature.


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pp. 78-105
Launched on MUSE
Open Access
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