Study Guide

How the García Girls Lost Their Accents Sexuality and Sexual Identity

By Julia Alvarez

Sexuality and Sexual Identity

As the García girls grow up they pass through adolescence. They don't get much of a "birds-and-bees" talk from their parents, aside from a warning not to go "behind the palm trees" with boys. But they figure it out for themselves, and the adult García sisters go on to have plenty of sexual relationships—successful and not-so-successful—with men.

But in How The García Girls Lost Their Accents, sexual relationships don't just take place within the confines of marriage, no matter how much Mami and Papi insist on it. In fact, the chapter "The Kiss" illustrates how lots of relationships, even between a father and his own daughters, are full of sexual tension.

Questions About Sexuality and Sexual Identity

  1. How do the García sisters' ideas about sex differ from those of their parents? Whose point of view do you think is more realistic?
  2. In the novel, how is sexual morality different in the United States and the Dominican Republic? What is supposed to be okay, and what's against the rules, according to American and Dominican society? Which rules are followed, and which are ignored, in both places?
  3. What textual clues can you find in the chapter "The Kiss" that the relationship between Papi and his daughters, especially Fifi, is a little bit erotic?
  4. When does sexual awareness begin for each of the García sisters? Do their early sexual experiences affect who they are as adults? How?

Chew on This

In "The Kiss," the erotic game played by Papi and his four daughters shows that their relationships with their father are just a teensy bit incestuous. Paging Doctor Freud!

For Yolanda, sex plays a big part in her understanding of her own identity. She's bothered by the fact that she seems to feel trapped between a "Catholic señorita" and a "woman's libber." Why can't she be more like her little sister Fifi? That girl really knows how to work it.

This is a premium product

Tired of ads?

Join today and never see them again.

Please Wait...