Below is an article containing literary criticism for the book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao , published in "The Quarterly Conversation" in 2008.
Friday, January 13, 2012
Thursday, January 12, 2012
In Junot Diaz’s novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, the author has the narrator use unorthodox storytelling to show that there is no escaping the life one has chosen, whether consciously or not. The titled protagonist, Oscar de Leon, experiences conflicting desires between experiencing love from a woman, and the violent and self-destructing behavior he exhibits. Early in the novel, the narrator establishes that Oscar tries hard to be love by his girlfriends but is unable to demand their heart and respect. This conflict sparks the beginning of Oscar’s trouble. Oscar’s first incident of his Jekyll and Hyde behavior is with Ana’s boyfriend. Oscar is so in love with Ana that he waited for her abusive boyfriend with a gun. This action shows that Oscar falls in love too quickly and it clouds his judgment. This “blind love” makes Oscar susceptible to behaving irrationally. Later in another example, Oscar falls madly in love with Lajabless, Jenni, only to be heartbroken. What does he do? Oscar tries to end his suffering by jumping off a train bridge. Oscar’s failed suicide attempt is another manifestation of the way he behaves in love, as demonstrated by his rash behavior with Ana. Oscar’s final attempt at love is arguably to be successful. Back in Santo Domingo, an all too familiar scene unfolds as Oscar falls head over heels for Y’bon, a prostitute and the girlfriend of the Police Captain. Blinded by love, Oscar ignores blaring warning signs of potential doom from his family. Eventually the Captain finds out and has Oscar beaten and left for dead. It is believed that Oscar learns his lesson, but shocks the reader and other characters by running back to Y’bon. This time Oscar isn’t so lucky and is killed. Oscar may have intentional ran back to Y’bon knowing the result so he could escape the life his lived. Or Oscar realized he was truly in love and believed he couldn’t live without Y’bon so he got himself killed. The only thing certain is death of Oscar released him from his self-inflicting ways.