Junot Diaz's Drown Analysis

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Familial influence can have a great impact on a protagonists’ life decisions and future, whether it be a lack of paternal guidance or cultural expectations. This can be seen in the life of Yunior, the protagonist in Junot Diaz’s Drown. Yunior immigrated to the USA from the Dominican Republic when he was little shortly after, his dad left the family and went to live with another woman. This lead to Yunior’s mom becoming a single mother and the breadwinner of the house. The focus of this essay will be on the chapter in the book called “Drown”. In the chapter Yunior remembers his adolescence with his friend Beto and their life in their Dominican dominated neighborhood. The chapter showcases the financial struggles of Yunior and his family along with the many cultural and social expectations he was expected to abide by, including being masculinity and going to school. The lack of paternal figures along with cultural expectations and stereotypes influenced the life and decisions made by Yunior, the protagonist in Junot Diaz’s Drown. As mentioned in the book Yunior’s family immigrated from the Dominican Republic, this affected Yunior’s future because of the many cultural expectations along with societal judgement. In the Dominican culture men are expected to be “masculine and the breadwinners” (Kevane 76) for the household but this is not the situation in Yunior’s family. Before abandoning the family, Yunior’s father helps them move to the USA, which forced them to chase after the American Dream. The family immigrated to escape poverty, but they still lived under the poverty line in the USA. But, “government funds to the Dominican” (Tores-Saillant) helped the family be better off, than they were in the Dominican. Despite not having a fa... ... middle of paper ... ...followed along with the macho dominated Dominican society. Beto, Yunior’s best friend can be seen as a foil character as he had a father figure and pursued life outside of his neighborhood by getting a good education. Along with not having a father figure Yunior lacked maternal guidance as his mom worked to provide for the family. With a low education level, Yunior’s only resort was to stay in the neighborhood and start a family. The lack of parental guidance along with cultural expectations associated with the Dominican culture, caused the protagonist in “Drown” Yunior to fail pursuing the American dream. In contrast, he succeeded in pursuing the dream of a Dominican boy in his neighborhood. In summary, Yunior’s family affected his beliefs and action which lead to his life succeeding in term of living in his neighborhood and failing in pursuing the American dream.

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