Summary of Our Paper by Julia Alvarez

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During the summer, the whole extended family -- uncles, aunts, sisters, cousins, grandparents -- usually leave the capital to get away from the heat and diseases. They leave to stay in Julia grandfather’s house close to the beach in a small fishing village of Boca Chica. Throughout the year the family has always lived in neighbouring houses in the city. Coming together to live under same roof was not a problem because it made them grow even more communal. The men stayed in the capital during the week and came back home on Friday afternoons. The wives, cousins, aunts, grandmother and nursemaids stayed in the house all week. It was a very beautiful atmosphere, they had so much fun, and it seemed then that they were not living in the dictatorship but in a fairyland. Suddenly, in the summer 1960, the trip to the beach house stopped. All the family stayed home in the capital being policed by the SIM because her father’s underground activities were suspected, and it would be only a matter of time before he would be hauled away. The whole family became troubled. Her family needed to flee the country, but she didn’t understand any of this. All she ever knew was that they were taking a vacation to the United States. “For weeks that soon became months and years, I would think this way. What was going on right this moment back home? As the leaves fell and the air turned gray and cold set in, I would remember the big house in Boca Chica”. She showed us in this piece how the dictatorship forced her family to flee Dominica Republic, her fear to come to the United States where culture, language and structures are different from her home country and how difficult it was for her as a child to leave a place she enjoys so much, leaving her relations that she and her siblings were so used to. “We didn’t want to go someplace if all the cousins and aunts couldn’t come along”. I believe if she was allowed to make choices as a child, she would have chosen to stay in her home country,...
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