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Themes in “The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao” by Díaz Junot Essay


The Outsider

Díaz presents Oscar as a “ghetto nerd” who is obsessed with science, fiction, and fantasy (21). Due to his nerdiness, Oscar is a “social invert,” constantly alienated by his peers (22). Yunior does not also consider Oscar to be a typical Dominican male since he does not have luck with girls. Besides, Oscar’s mother, Belicia, is an immigrant from the Dominion Republic. Oscar and his siblings are considered outsiders in New Jersey, and they often experience the “diasporic” effect of a foreign country. Further, Lola is not contented with her life and constantly expresses the desire to live a different life (Díaz 51). She is constantly rebellious and even runs away from home, all in the name of looking for a different life (Díaz 64).

Love and Violence

From the prologue, the reader gets the view that the novel’s main message is the fukú curse, which is characterized by tragic violence. But at the same time, Díaz uses various characters to propagate love in the novel. Díaz presents love and violence in a manner that suggests to the reader that the two go hand in hand. Love, as portrayed in the novel, is often connected to violence, mainly driven by jealousy and extreme love for the family. Oscar’s search for love leads him to Ybón, and he eventually suffers violence from a jealous Third World cop (Diaz 291). Similarly, Belicia’s search for love leads her to the gangster, and she eventually suffers violence from the gangster’s wife. Further, Lola experiences both love and violence from her own mother, and Abelard’s love for his daughter makes him experience violence while trying to protect her.

My Reflection

As I read through this novel, I am amazed by the way Díaz portrays the theme of an outsider, which I can easily relate to. In our day-to-day life, we sometimes fail to have a sense of belonging. We struggle so much to belong to our society and in whatever we do. At the same time, we alienate others based on social class and ethnicity. Once, I witnessed a girl in my neighborhood being alienated just because she is black. She was made to believe that she is not one of us, and she should not play with other children in the neighborhood. She struggled to be part of us, but we continued to alienate her. Díaz used this novel to portray the “diasporic” experiences of immigrants as they struggle to overcome bad ethnicity in their new countries (Aarbakke 12).

In the novel, Oscar and his siblings find themselves in New Jersey as children of an immigrant. While they have spent most part of their life in New Jersey and understand it more than the Dominican Republic, they are still treated as foreigners. They feel like outsiders both in their country, New Jersey and in the Dominican Republic. This is the same way we treat children of immigrants in our country. We consider them to be foreigners, even though they have been born and brought up in there. It is not their fault that their parents migrated into our country, but we still make them feel like outsiders both in their parents’ country and in their country of birth as well.

orks Cited

Aarbakke, Ingvild. “Between Here and There: Aspects of the Diasporic Experiences in the Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Díaz”. MA thesis. University of Bergen, 2011. Web.

Díaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. London: Faber and Faber, 2009. Print.

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"Themes in "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Díaz Junot." IvyPanda, 18 June 2020, ivypanda.com/essays/themes-in-the-brief-wondrous-life-of-oscar-wao-by-daz-junot/.

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IvyPanda. "Themes in "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Díaz Junot." June 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/themes-in-the-brief-wondrous-life-of-oscar-wao-by-daz-junot/.

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IvyPanda. 2020. "Themes in "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Díaz Junot." June 18, 2020. https://ivypanda.com/essays/themes-in-the-brief-wondrous-life-of-oscar-wao-by-daz-junot/.

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IvyPanda. (2020) 'Themes in "The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao" by Díaz Junot'. 18 June.

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