Study Guide

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents Three-Act Plot Analysis

By Julia Alvarez

Three-Act Plot Analysis

If García Girls were a three-act play, we think the acts would be divided up according to the three major sections of the book (conveniently numbered I, II and III). Let's take a look at how this division would pan out, plotwise:

Act I

The García girls as adults. The novel explores the grown-up lives of the García girls. Are they happy? Well, not really. Are they confused? Oh, most definitely. Yoyo reflects backwards on every romantic relationship she's ever had, hoping to unravel the mistakes she's made.

Act II

The García girls as teenagers. Okay, we've made it through adulthood without feeling any more stable. So let's keep going, shall we? Let's explore some of the really uncomfortable moments from the García family's first few years in the U.S. This act features mean bullies, a creepy pedophile, and an A-bomb fake-out. It takes us to the moment where the family is newly moved to the United States—it's about as lost and lonely as they've ever felt in their lives.

Act III

This act starts with the traumatic moment that forces the family into exile: Carlos's near escape from Trujillo's secret police. It takes us through some pretty powerful early memories of all four of the García daughters, but wraps up with Yoyo's most traumatic memory, and the one that makes her the artist she is today: the abandonment of a tiny kitten. Having faced up to this horrible moment in her life, Yoyo is free to accept herself.

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