Second, he combines English and Spanish language influences, which he does throughout the novel. But because their first language is Spanish, they pronounce "Wilde" as "Wao. So, what does all this fancy talk from Lingam mean? It means that the novel frequently makes use of two languages, Spanish and English. It draws on both Dominican and American culture.

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Second, he combines English and Spanish language influences, which he does throughout the novel. But because their first language is Spanish, they pronounce "Wilde" as "Wao.

So, what does all this fancy talk from Lingam mean? It means that the novel frequently makes use of two languages, Spanish and English. It draws on both Dominican and American culture. The nickname "Oscar Wao," then, suggests a third language and culture. We might call the language of the book "Spanglish" and the culture "Dominican-American.

In Wao, Diaz shares with us the quite amazing life of Oscar. Sniff, sniff; hold on, give us a minute to compose ourselves. Wao ends with a quote from the final letter Oscar sent from the Dominican Republic to his sister Lola. Well, we think the letter is important because: It gives Oscar the final say. The preceding pages of Chapter 8 wrap things up for Yunior and Lola, but Oscar has largely disappeared from view.

So this ending refocuses us on our boy Oscar. In case you forgot that his name also appears in the title. So why is Oscar such a big deal in this book?

Whoa, heavy. You deserve it. The horror! After multiple lovelorn episodes, our boy Oscar finally ends up having sex. So he finally discovers all the "little intimacies" of being in love with another person 3. The beauty! Not satisfied? Okay, okay. You Shmoopers are some ruthless ly dedicated readers. So we think New Jersey is a perfect setting for Wao. The main characters, like Oscar and Lola, are down-and-out outsiders to many aspects of American and Dominican cultures.

Similarly, the state of NJ is, itself, kind of a weird underdog. A somewhere is New York. Elsewheres is those other places that nobody cares about, or even really believes are in any way important. Simply put, NJ is a claustrophobic setting for Oscar and his sis. What would she want to escape, you ask? One word comes to mind: Trujillo. We follow Beli and La Inca, or Abelard and Socorro, through their day-to-day routines of work and school.

Beli goes to a good private school. Abelard practices medicine. But then Trujillo always finds a way to interfere in these normal lives. However, as soon Trujillo enters the lives of his characters, you realize the danger and oppression of the place. Like someone had sounded a general reverse evacuation order: Back home, everyone! Back home! But remember, Wao presents us with a much more complicated Dominican Republic.

At times, the characters need to leave the DR in order to stay alive. At other times, the characters describe the DR with intense nostalgia and, dare we say it, love. Santo Domingo will always be there.

It was in the beginning and it will be there at the end" 2. One for the Money If one epigraph is cool, two epigraphs are inarguably cooler.

And since Diaz loves to juxtapose popular culture and high culture, as well as "old world" and "new world" identities, the two epigraphs that begin this book sort of say it all.

The first one goes like this: "Of what import are brief, nameless lives. I, No. Here goes: Galactus is a character in the Marvel Comics universe. Stan Lee and Jack Kirby , the creators of Galactus, say that they drew on the Bible and Greek myths for this character. They wanted to create a super-villain—someone bigger and more powerful than a sniveling mad scientist. So, they modeled Galactus on the demi-gods and dudes like Zeus. What does this have to do with Wao?

We think he aims to fill in those blank pages with his book. From that dog rotting down Wrightson Road to when I was a dog on these streets; if loving these islands must be my load.

In this poem, a sailor named Shabine travels from some unnamed Caribbean island to the Dominican Republic what Oscar likes to call the DR. We think the poem highlights how tons of folks emigrate from the DR, and how tons of folks return to it each year. See, Oscar and his family are just a few among many. Notice, too, how Shabine both celebrates and distances himself from the Caribbean in this excerpt.

He calls the islands "paradise" but also admits that he wants to leave. This sounds a lot like the characters in Wao. To say the least, they have pretty complex relationships with their homeland.

Plus, like Shabine, Oscar and the other main characters flip-flip between two contradictory identities in Wao: "nobody" and the DR. How can a person be both anonymous and represent an entire nation? Allow us to explain. A Bigger Evil than Galactus? That little ditty goes like this: Men are not indispensable.

But Trujillo is irreplaceable. For Trujillo is not a man. He is Those who try to compare him to ordinary contemporaries are mistaken. He belongs to Maybe Trujillo is just the real-life incarnation of Galactus after all. Okay, in all seriousness, this quote may make not make much sense before you read Section II. Trujillo becomes, by the end of the novel, an ever-present force of evil. So, yeah. Trujillo is not a historical man. The connection between canefields and violence in Wao is no coincidence.

See, canefields are where slaves worked in the Dominican Republic. So the canefields carry a lot of symbolic weight.

The novel only takes us there at night. You could say that the forces of good and evil meet up to rumble in the canefields. You could say that. When Beli and Oscar, both beaten within an inch of lives, consider giving up, a Golden Mongoose shows up to save them. More on this below in our Symbols section, " The Mongoose. The Mongoose Did you even know what a mongoose was before reading this book?

Anyway, one of these scrappy little carnivorous beasts plays an important role in Wao. Well, the Mongoose, who is a magical force of good, directly opposes Trujillo, who is a magical force of evil. Think Gandalf versus Sauron. Accompanied humanity out of Africa and after a long furlough in India jumped ship to the other India, a. Since its earliest appearance in the written record — B. Believed to be an ally of Man. Many Watchers suspect that the Mongoose arrived to our world from another, but to date no evidence of such a migration has been unearthed.

Add to this the fact the Mongoose often appears bathed in golden light, and presto—the Mongoose is a fantastic force of good. And guess who he sees or thinks he sees? But his description suggests to us that this is the same Golden Mongoose that saved Beli: It was very placid, very beautiful. Gold-limned eyes that reached through you, not so much in judgment or reproach but for something far scarier.

They stared at each other—it serene as a Buddhist, he in total disbelief—and then the whistle blew again and his eyes snapped open or closed and he was gone. We think not.


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Quotes

The fantastical elements of the novel take place in both New Jersey and in the Dominican Republican, this establishes a real world setting for these events which blends the natural with the supernatural, another attribute of Magical Realism. Both political critique and metafiction are typical features of Magical Realism. Historically, the mongoose was imported from Asia during the 18th century. Mongooses were imported to tropical islands such as the Dominican Republic, Jamaica, and Hawaii.


The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Analysis

When first published, it was widely seen as marking the arrival of a young writer to be reckoned with. Some reviewers saw it as being close to reportage, others as a fragmentary autobiographical novel. It could also be seen as belonging to the efflorescence of tough, post- "minimalist" American stories as produced by such figures as Thom Jones and Denis Johnson. Along with his use of Dominican slang in his punchy American-English sentences, all this made Drown a hard book to pigeonhole. And this was how its author wanted things to be.


Junot Díaz


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