Julia Alvarez Essay

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Brandon Knights Professor Burgey Engl 1101-32 27 September 2010 Declarations and Customs Have you ever had to choose between two things that seem equally important to you? Maybe you've had to make a sacrifice in one area in order to fulfill another. At times, everyone feels like they are stuck between a rock and a hard place. No matter how cliché it may sound, the concept is still relevant. In her book, Something to Declare, Julia Alvarez explains her struggles between maintaining customs versus declaring what Alvarez felt it was the right path for her own life. Alvarez was born in Dominican Republic, but moved to New York City along with her family at the age of ten years old. Alvarez wanted to pursue her dream to become a writer in the United States, but struggled because Alvarez was concerned about potentially abandoning her roots. The most important realization for Alvarez was that she did not have to choose one path or the other; Alvarez allowed her customs to play an important role in her declarations for a more satisfying outcome. There is a standard definition for customs and declarations, but Alvarez portrays her version of the two in her novel. The dictionary defines declaration as something that is announced, avowed, or proclaimed. However, Alvarez declares how various factors like her struggles and social class impacted goals. The dictionary defines a custom as a group pattern of habitual activity usually transmitted from one generation to another. At one point, Alvarez struggles to maintain her customs, but still wants to continue reading and writing for personal satisfaction. Eventually, Alvarez realized how her inherited customs could have a positive effect on her declarations. Alvarez does not categorize herself into a specific culture as an author. Alvarez states, “I am not a mainstream American writer with my roots in a small town in

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