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					Amanda Durham

2/10/11

English 10

Julia Alvarez’s Writing.


       Julia Alvarez, an author of many different essays, including, “My First Free Summer”,

poems, such as, “Exile” and “All-American Girl”, and stories like “Antojos”, uses a lot of

figurative language in her different types of text to express her style in writing and to describe

her life starting out as a citizen of the Dominican Republic living under a dictators rules then

moving to America and starting a new, free life as an American citizen.


       Alvarez uses figurative language to develop her style and theme. In “My First Free

Summer,” Alvarez tells her story of escaping a dictatorship in the Dominican Republic. When

she realizes she will need to speak English, she describes the language as being like “rocks-in-

your-mouth” (265). This description tells the reader Alvarez believed English was a difficult,

ugly language. Similarly in her poem “Exile,” Alvarez compares leaving her home land and

going to America to “two swimmers looking down at the quiet surface of our island water,

seeing their faces right before plunging in, eager, afraid, not yet sure of the outcome” (271). By

saying this Alvarez easily states for the readers that she is scared to move, and doesn’t know

what’s going to happen, but is going to be brave, take the chance, and hopes everything takes a

turn for the best. Also in Alvarez’s poem “All-American-Girl,” when she has arrived in America

and saw how different everyone looked and spoke. Alvarez said that she tried to fit in with

everyone else “but my face wouldn’t obey- like a tide it was pulled back by my lunatic heart to

its old habits of showing feelings” (273), to tell how hard it was for her to fit in because no

matter what you do you can’t cover up your culture, just like you cannot control or stop a tide.

Finally in her story “Antojos,” Alvarez says “she speeded up and left them behind, the small
Amanda Durham

2/10/11

English 10

Julia Alvarez’s Writing.


compact climbing easily up the snaky highway, its well-oiled hum a gratifying sound after the

hullabaloo of the bus” When I think of snakes I think of curvy, scaly reptiles. And a lot of people

do not like snakes, and by the way she is comparing this highway to a snake I don’t think she

likes them either. And if it’s a snaky highway then it must be very curvy and she doesn’t like that

kind of highway either, so she is dreading this trip on this road.


       The use of figurative language in Alvarez’s writing really help add style and helps the

reader better pay attention and understand Alvarez’s pieces of literature. The idea of Alvarez not

fitting into her second culture is very common among everyone, especially teens, because there

are so many different cliques and cultures. Since there are so many conjoined groups of cultures

everywhere you go, you don’t have to travel far to find somewhere where fitting in is necessary

and wanted. Everyone is different.

				
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