Julia Alvarez's first three novels, which can be read as a story cycle, are highly autobiographical, and, if studied together, reveal how she progresses as an author. Drawing from theories concerning life writing, language, and madness, I read How the García Girls Lost Their Accents as a dual kunstlerroman, demonstrating the growth of both Alvarez's and Yolanda's agency. In her second novel, In the Time of the Butterflies, Alvarez wrestles with what "lies at the center of [her] art" -- the Dominican Republic and the trauma associated with living on and away from the island. Using cryptonomy and trauma theory, I investigate the effect of silence on both the Dominicans and Alvarez. Finally, in ¡Yo! Alvarez suggests that the responsible storyteller listens to those she represents. When considered together, these three novels reveal Alvarez's quest to articulate her development as a writer who can represent the voices of the collective.