Written by Junot Diaz in 2007, the novel ‘The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao’ portrays the life of a modern Latin immigrant in the USA. Oscar de Leon, the main character, is portrayed as a ghetto nerd, a young man growing in the US after his family immigrated from the Dominican Republic and years after the death of Rafael Trujillo, the ruthless dictator who caused thousands to flee the country.
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As he grows from childhood through the American school system to adulthood, Oscar’s faces many challenges due to his poor and immigrant background, inability to participate in sports or find love. This paper presents a critical thinking of the book from two perspectives- Oscar’s love for Ybon and premature death and the effect of ‘Fuku’.
Critical thinking of Oscar’s Love for Ybon and premature death
Despite the fact that Oscar has had a number of previous relationships with other girls since he was young, it is clear that he is obsessed with Ybon Pimentel. From a critical view, one can see the impact that the semiretired prostitute had on her numerous boyfriends. In addition, the relationship between Oscar and Ybon provides insight into the lives of both male and female immigrants in the USA, especially those from poor societies in Latin America.
In this case, Ybon is a Puerto Rican immigrant while Oscar’s parents emigrated from the Dominican Republic. Noteworthy, the relationship between Oscar and Ybon is used as an example of the relationships that occur between members of the South American immigrants in the US. In fact, most of the immigrants fall in love with partners from similar backgrounds, where poverty and social limitations hold back their life and progress.
It is ironical that Oscar enters into a tight and almost intimate relationship with Ybon, despite avoiding intimacy with his previous partners, most of whom had straight lives and held to their morals. Although he is aware that Ybon is older than he is (she is about 36 years) and has numerous boyfriends, Oscar agrees to fall in love with her. In addition, it is ironical for him to dedicate his time and energy on her yet he is aware that most of the time she is away with her boyfriends.
Moreover, he is aware that Ybon has two sons, Strelling and Perfecto, who live with Ybon’s parents in Puerto Rico. To the audience, Oscar looks naïve in a number of ways. For instance, he does not consider why Ybon spends much of her time drinking in her house or in love escapades with various males. He also agrees to accompany her in some of her night outs. Oscar appears to be desperate for love, yet he had the chance to approach some of the younger and morally upright females in his neighborhoods.
It is also ironical for Ybon to start intimacy in the presence of her police boyfriend, yet she knows that the boyfriend is jealous and armed. Moreover, the first kiss that Yobon gives to Oscar in the presence of her boyfriend is an irony because she had avoided intimacy in several other cases when they were alone, including all the time they had been spending alone in her house.
This Irony seems to be one of the effects of the Fuku curse, which has been following Oscar since he was born. The irony leads to his death. One wonders why he had to return to New Jersey to borrow money and use it pursuing the prostitute in the Dominican Republic, yet there were several other women ready for his love in the US.
His death seems to be driven by this Irony. While he was looking for a chance to enter into an intimate relationship with Ybon, the only kiss he gets from her leads to his death. He is canned and finally shot to punish him for a kiss he did not perpetrate. It is Ironical that the society punishes Oscar and leaves out Ybon, yet she had committed the offence with Oscar and several other men before him.
Critical thinking about the curse Fuku
According to the author, the Europeans brought the curse “fuku” to the Americas, which has since been haunting people’s lives. Oscar and his family are some of the victims of the age-old curse. It is surprising that the curse stayed years after it was unleashed on the new world when the Europeans came to America. From a critical view, the author seems to blame the coming of the Europeans to America for the miseries affecting most citizens in the modern world.
First, the author argues that Fuku, which has never been seen but experienced, is a curse that has dominated the lives of most people in the Dominican Republic. For instance, the author argues that Trujillo was either the fuku itself or the master of the fuku. He seems to blame the fuku for the dictatorial regime of Trujillo and his inhumane actions that Trujillo and his regime carried out.
In addition, the large number of regimes that have dominated the country and deprived citizens of their rights and cause economic problems are blamed on the fuku. From a critical view, the author was using the term “fuku” to symbolize the incoming of the Europeans.
To him, most of the social, economic and political problems facing Dominican Republic and other South American nations are the products of the coming of the Europeans and colonization. In actual sense, there is nothing like the fuku curse, rather it is an idea used to represent European domination of the new world.
However, the author’s view of the fuku curse appears to be based on the stereotypic view of the world that is common among the Hispanics in South America and those living in the US. For instance, Oscar is a learned individual who is supposed to break from the past, unlike his mother who belongs from the old world. Yet, he holds to the stereotypic belief that he is under the control of the fuku.
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Although he believes that one day he will be free of the fuku, he still keeps his mind within the stereotypic view. In addition, he does the opposite of his wish. For instance, by pursuing the prostitute Ybon, he is obeying the force of the fuku. He is aware that the fuku is responsible for his miseries, yet he follows what he thinks are the forces of the curse.
From a critical view, the fuku also represents the stereotypic view of the Latin American citizens. Despite some of them migrating to the US, they cannot change their perceptions, which the author ironically calls the effect of the fuku curse.