Dr. Catherine Romagnolo
Dr. Catherine Romagnolo Publishes “Recessive Origins in Alvarez’s Garcia Girls: A Feminist Theory of Narrative Beginnings”
In this essay, Romagnolo lays out a paradigm for examining the beginnings of fictional narratives. She identifies four types of beginnings: Discursive, Chronological, Causal, and Conceptual. Through a close reading of Julia Alvarez’s important novel, How the Garcia Girls Lost Their Accents, Romagnolo argues that an examination of narrative beginnings is essential to a full understanding of many contemporary novels, particularly those written by female and minority writers. With her analysis, Romagnolo demonstrates how Alvarez uses narrative elements such as chronology and causality to make explicit a connection between narrative beginnings and the representation of individual and social identities. Intervening in the prominent theoretical discourse that conceives of narrative beginnings as constrained by either/or choices, she asserts that understanding how Alvarez destabilizes the binary logic of narrative beginnings can lead us to a deeper comprehension of the ways she undermines typical restrictive understandings of immigrant subjects and their stories.
This essay is a shortened version of a chapter in Romagnolo’s book, Opening Acts: Narrative Beginnings From a Feminist Perspective, which is currently being reviewed by Ohio State University Press for their Theory and Interpretation of Narrative Series.