Daughter of Invention  by Julia Alvarez



            This story is about a family that immigrated to America.  This had moved form the Dominican Republic and wanted to start a new life because the government was corrupt, in the Dominican Republic, and it wasn’t a good time to be living there, it wasn’t safe.  All the daughters went to an American school, it was hard at times, but all of the teachers were helping them with the English language.  The father found a good job.  The mother was always inventing things and showing them to her daughters, who were never really encouraging.  There was one daughter in the family who they called Cukita.  She was going to the High School and still learning English, but she had the nuns at the school to help her.  He teacher assigned her to deliver the teacher’s day address.  Even after weeks Cukita was still thinking of what to say.  The night before, she got inspired from some poetry called Whitman.   It was beautiful.  Cukita’s mother was so proud of what her daughter had written and how well she had learned English.  When she read it to her father, she pronounced everything right and spoke clearly.  Her father was not happy when he heard the speech, though.  He thought it didn’t show any gratitude and was disrespecting of her teachers.  He didn’t want his family to fit in and forget their Spanish culture.  He told Cukita to not deliver the speech and ripped it up.  Cukita was so angry that she ran to her room and locked the door.  That night, Cukita and her mother stayed up writing the speech again.  She gave it and came home with news of her success.  Her father, on the other hand, felt sorry for the way he reacted.  He got her the typewriter that she wanted; it was better than the one she had been asking for.  Cukita thought of the speech her mother helped her with, as her mother’s last invention.  It was like she was handing over the buck, telling her to give it a shot.


This story is told from a first person point-of-view.  Cukita is the main character who talks about her story and the way that she felt at the time.


The conflicts in this story are external conflicts (person vs. person, and culture.) 

~It is person vs. person because Cukita is having different opinions from her father about fitting in.

~It is person vs. culture because Cukita is trying to fit in which means giving up her culture.


The crisis of the story is Cukita had to figure out what to write in her speech the night before she was supposed to deliver her speech.  She had to rewrite it because her father thought is was disrespectful, so he ripped it up and said that she couldn’t deliver the speech.


The resolution was that speech was rewritten in a way that was favorable of the nuns at the school. 





Character Development:

Cukita’s character developed in different ways.  Cukita realized that more than one point of view can be right.  She became more adaptable and less stubborn because she rewrote the speech the way that her father wanted it: no criticism and all compliments to the nuns.


         Freedom – Cukita’s father doesn’t want Cukita say her speech because he thought it was “showing no gratitude.  It is boastful.  ‘I celebrate myself’?  ‘The best student learns to destroy the teacher’?  That is insubordinate.  It is improper.  It is disrespecting of her teachers.”  He doesn’t realize that in America you can say what you think without having bad things happen to you.

         Guilt – Her father felt bad about what he said to Cukita that he got her a typewriter to say that he was sorry for the way that he acted.

         Responsibility – Cukita knew that she had a speech to write and wrote it twice.  She had to write it a second time because he father ripped it up.

         Fitting in – “I finally sounded like myself in English.”  Cukita’s father didn’t want them to forget or lose their Spanish culture.  He didn’t want them to fit in, even though it was what his daughters wanted.

         Adaptation – Cukita had to adapt her speech to the way that her father wanted it.  They also adapted to the new culture.   Her mother, father and herself adapted to each other’s ideas.

         Stubborness – Her father thought that only he was right and his daughter had to do what he wanted, which was to not deliver the speech.  It didn’t matter that he was not in country with a dictator.  Cukita thought that her father was being a dictator even though he just had a different point of view.