' La Gringuita, And Julia Alvarez's The Joy Luck Club

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Julia Alvarez and Amy Tan are American authors with similar circumstances. Although they were born and raised in the United States, their parents were immigrants from a different culture. Thus, their literary works are heavily influenced by their backgrounds, the literary themes and subject matter of which often deal with the multifaceted lives and thoughts of minority Americans. In Alvarez’s nonfictional essay “La Gringuita” and Tan’s extract “Two Kinds” from her novel “The Joy Luck Club”, both women express ideas of a promising America, where one “can have the best of both worlds” (La Gringuita) and one can “be anything you wanted to be” (Two Kinds). Although these statements are widely considered true by many, they certainly do not discuss…show more content…
In “The Joy Luck Club”, Suyuan Woo’s story mirrors those of many Asian immigrants who came to the American continent vying for a better start. They believed in the abundance of opportunities and in equality, where hard work, rather than social hierarchy or relationship, predetermines one’s success, as Tan wrote in the prologue of the novel “…Over there nobody will say her worth is measure by the loudness of her husband’s belch…” or “In America you could buy a house with almost no money down. You could become rich. You could become instantly famous”. These statements reflect the many values in the classic “American Dream”, which have been accredited to the success stories of many Americans, going from rags to riches, climbing to the top starting from the bottom. In “La Gringuita”, on the other hand, Julia Alvarez, when talking about her friend Dilita, also a Dominican American, played with the idea of having the best of both worlds as a multilingual - multicultural person – “we can have a good time here, and have a good time there.” She admitted to enjoy being a “hybrid” herself. Indeed, anyone who can speak multiple languages has an undeniable advantage in a melting-pot society like America. The idea of being able to dabble in everything and having doors open is tempting to many immigrants; thus, it has driven as well…show more content…
In the case of Alvarez, it was her native language, Spanish, and her Dominican roots. She soon realized that it was impossible to strike a balance between her Dominican Spanish speaking side and her American English speaking side since the latter has become her dominant tongue and way of life, to such an extent that she could not connect to her Spanish speaking boyfriend. “Too many parts of me were left out in Spanish for me to be able to be intimate with a potential life partner in only that language.” The cultural clash that stemmed from this language barrier caused Julia to slowly drift away from her Dominican family. The title “La Gringuita” points to the irony of being mocked “an American girl” when she herself was born Dominican. As for Jing-Mei and her mother, their sacrifice came from the cultural clashes in which conflicting beliefs held by the mother and the daughter resulted in a broken family relationship. She wished for her daughter success and fame, and she made every endeavour to realize her prodigy child dream, doing unpaid housekeeping work in order to afford piano lessons for Jing-Mei, not to mention leaving behind everything she had in China: her whole family, including her twin baby daughters when she departed to America. Ironically, the liberal, self-asserting values that America has
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