The Power of Words

Published: 2021-06-29 06:55:01
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Category: Book Reports

Type of paper: Essay

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Julia Alvarez's Snow is a short-short story about a girl named Yolanda. She is a young immigrant who just moved to New York and is studying in a Catholic school. Through the lessons in school, Yolanda finally has enough vocabulary to comprehend what her teacher says; she develops a love for words. Through the story, Julia Alvarez tells readers her experience in two cultures by using first-person narration. This story happens when the Cuban Missile Crisis is happening and the climax is when Yolanda mistakes snow is the nuclear bomb. Yolanda, an imaginative girl who has a strong love for words, shows that words have a strong power and can have great influence to a listener, especially children who are living in a strange world, like Yolanda.
Yolanda, an immigrant who is trying to be accustomed to the new life in New York, is being taught by the Sisters of Charity. By being told to teach her classmates how to pronounce my "lovely name" correctly, Julia Alvarez emphasizes that although Yolanda is living in a new country, she does not want to forget her identity and wants everyone to accept it. And to understand how important words are in communication with each other, Yolanda quickly masters some vocabulary that her teacher teaches: Laundromat, cornflakes, subway, snow. But why does Julia describe Yolanda as a person who is very interested in words, as Hoffman says in his work: "Yolanda understands and respects the power of words. She plays with them, struggles with them, relishes them, even hates and rejects them at times; in short, she is all but obsessed with them" (para. 10). One of the reasons we can see is that words are important for Julia because they identify her identity in this new country: "But in New York, she needed to settle somewhere, and since the natives were unfriendly, and the country inhospitable, she took root in the language" (Alvarez, "How The Garcia Girls", 141).

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