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Title: The other sides of the dominican American story: Relational negotiations of self and collectivity in three novels by Julia Alverez
Issue Date: 16-Apr-2018
Citation: WU XUETING (2018-04-16). The other sides of the dominican American story: Relational negotiations of self and collectivity in three novels by Julia Alverez. ScholarBank@NUS Repository.
Abstract: Since the 1980s, US Latina/o literature has been increasingly integrated into mainstream publishing and academic study in the United States. The Dominican American migrant writer Julia Alvarez, one of the initiators of this literary boom, works to break and expand the boundaries of an “American” identity with her works that continuously imagine a hemispheric American collectivity connected across national, cultural, linguistic, racial and class differences. In this thesis, I focus on three novels by Alvarez -- How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, In the Time of the Butterflies and In the Name of Salomé -- to examine how Alvarez uses a unique cross-cultural mode to negotiate self, Otherness and collectivity for her Dominican characters, both within and between the Dominican Republic and the US. Alvarez’s cross-cultural reworkings of US and Latin American literary traditions create novel ways of re-constituting the individual in relation to the collective, both nationally and transnationally. Additionally, she works through language, discourse and the senses as transformative means of mediating self and Other, not just for her various narrative voices, but also in relation to the silences in her novels. As scholars often read Garcia Girls from a US Latina/o perspective, and Butterflies and Salomé from a Caribbean one, very few have studied the three together. However, I find value in examining Alvarez’s continuous process of negotiating a cross-cultural “Dominican American” perspective in Garcia Girls, through which to re-imagine her Dominican and Caribbean history in Butterflies and Salomé. I analyse her innovative mediations of bilingual, bicultural, female and racial experiences of Otherness. Although Alvarez is rather muted in working through Afro-Caribbean and Haitian marginalisation, her constant efforts to engage in varying and marginal perspectives also guide her reader to investigate even beyond the limits of her novels, towards creating a more inclusive hemispheric Americas.
Appears in Collections:Bachelor's Theses (Restricted)

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