Political and Emotional Dictatorship within Junot Diaz's Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao

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Political and Emotional Dictatorship within Junot Diaz's Brief and Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Works Cited Missing Junot Díaz published his first novel and second book The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in 2006, forty-five years after the 1930-1961 rule of Trujillo over the Dominican Republic collapsed. That's the central theme of the novel: dictatorship. It concerns not only political, man-over-man, Trujillo-brutal dictatorship (though that is a haunting image throughout), but also psychological despots: the dictatorship of fear, of orphanage, of blighted love, of displacement, of cancer, of nerdiness, of ostracization, of obesity, of unrequited love, of male sexual hunger (both under- and over-supplemented), and, above all, of fukú?a general "curse or doom," as Díaz explains in his introduction, that "they say [...] came from Africa, carried in the screams of the enslaved, [they say it] was the death bane of the Tainos, uttered just as one world perished and another began" (1). But Díaz is disciplined in his craft: he doesn't just scatter despots higgledy-piggledy throughout the novel, no, Díaz presents the theme following a definitive structure that resembles a V?starting at one point (one despot) and expanding to encompass several. The main characters of the novel?those of and around the Cabral-Wao lineage?are subject (victim) to this pattern. Fukú, of course, is not simply and superstitiously a "general curse", really it represents the cultural upheaval (to say the least) of the Dominican Republic and the rest of the Latin American world that started "when the Spaniards 'discovered' the New World?or when the U.S. invaded Santo Domingo in 1916" (212). So fukú is imperialism. Díaz couldn't possibly chronicle within a... ... middle of paper ... ...car Wao is powerless against that. Junot Díaz himself clearly sympathizes with the victims of oppression, is no totalitarian, hierarchic right-winger. This is evident simply in his narrative style: a slang-wielding, street-friendly, straight-forward minimalist, unafraid to use what others would consider ?unworthy? of literature. His liberal approach, executed of course with an immense talent and discretion (just using the word ?Homedog? doesn?t make a literary genius), delivers a visceral intimacy of the environment and dispositions of his characters that require no decoding to enjoy, accomplishes what Wordsworth and Whitman intended: free literature from its academic stronghold. Díaz?s non-hierarchical stance is incandescent, but, as history has shown, the above goal likely won?t be achieved by a single hand. And that?s only part of the struggle for democracy.

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