|Type of paper:||Term paper|
|Categories:||Character analysis Social issue Books Gender in literature|
Junot Diaz, in the above story portrays the Dominican society using the fuku story, which he finds it is relevant as well as problematic. The novel is a fiction work of art that depicts the Dominican culture during the ruling of Trujillo; he is portrayed as a dictator and represents the government in the Dominican community. In the first chapter pages of the novel, Diaz uses fuku story to shape different settings surrounding the entire novel. Also, the text aims at not only identifying the true nature of fuku but also transforming it into a concrete thing rather than speculating it as an ambiguous curse in society. Diaz is also trying to identify zafa to resolve the ancient spell of fuku in Dominican people. He uses Belicia as one of the characters to portray the true nature of fuku and the needed zafa to solve the problem that appears to be troubling the characters in the story, more so, Oscar de Leon who is the protagonist. The author speculates various themes affecting the Dominican society in this novel; therefore, this essay seeks to discuss the subject matter portrayed by Diaz in this novel.
First, Diaz uses fuku story to reveal the misfortunes of the Dominican society. In his novel, he describes fuku as a curse that has been in Dominican history. The origin of the fuku is from the colonization of the Dominican Republic by European colonizers. Diaz uses the protagonist, Oscar to depict the effect of fuku in his life. Oscar is described as a nerd and un-Dominican man due to lack of masculinity. The protagonist is depicted as a romantic man who is always looking for a woman to love him, but in many instances, he is heart-broken. Through the protagonist, Diaz portrays the theme of love in Dominican society.
In the novel, the author uses different characters to foreground love, and, to demonstrate how love plays a vital role in people's lives. Lack of love in people's lives will result in negative or positive outcomes one can be reckless or stronger, respectively. Love in the story has been depicted in various ways using different characters. For instance, Oscar portrays the romantic love where he falls in love effortlessly and in numerous instances, he ends up being heart-broken.
On the other hand, the love between Belicia and her children depict parental love. Beli and her daughter are not in a good relationship. For instance, as stated in the novel"La Muchacha fear, she said in disgust" (p.54), Beli is telling her daughter that she is ugly! An individual will not have self-confidence in their personal growth as someone who is supposed to love them unconditionally with passion and care, rather abuses them. In accord to this, Lola runs away from home, "All my life I'd been swearing that one day I would just disappear. And one day I did, I ran off because of a boy" (p.61). Love is essential for personal growth and enhances the vulnerability of accepting ourselves.
Love is perpetuated throughout the novel using, the protagonist. Oscar can be equated to 'a player,' what contemporary society refers to an individual with girls everywhere; he could not decide who to love and who to leave. He was among the boys in school, who are always trying to kiss any girl that comes their way. However, despite being the lover boy, Oscar was never lucky with girls as they all disappointed him. He was not loved in return. Oscar is depicted as an overweight nerd, and many people avoid him, more so women, unlike his friend Yunior, who knows a witty way to lure women. Nevertheless, he portrays himself as a hero despite his weaknesses. Oscar de Leon represents the Aristotelian tragic hero, he has flaws, and his decisions presume his downfall, he dies because of the uncontrollable desire for love.
The author has portrayed power in different instances using various characters. Everybody wants power, but not everybody in society can have it. Rafael Trujillo's regime is used to represent political power; it is the kind of control that dictates the lives of the Dominican people. Oscar is also involved with the state in one way or another, just like the way his mother and grandfather were involved. The content in the novel is what transpires in the daily lives of the oppressed people in society. It mirrors society as its literature is itself the mirror of society. The characters used to represent power and love in contemporary society and everybody is eligible in day to day life activities.
Furthermore, there is political control in Dominican society, through the imagery description of Trujillo in the center of the novel; the audience can picture him sitting on a throne of dictatorship. Trujillo is messing with the lives of people in Dominican society. The narrator has the opinion that Trujillo has got supernatural powers due to his power control over people and dictatorship. On the other hand, the writer has power over the readers because they dictate what the reader should believe and what they should not believe. The writer hides what he does not want the audience to read even though literature is multi-lingual thinking.
Belicia and Lola use their sexuality as their form of authority. In Belicia's case, she uses her breast as her form of power as described in hyperbolic terms. Puberty onset and becoming a woman is the beginning of Belicia's rule; perhaps, she uses her sexuality to control men. However, later on, Belicia realized that the control she had was only to a certain extent because the novel states that she falls in love three times but does not have the chance to stay in a long-lasting relationship.
On the other hand, Lola uses her legs and hips as her form of power against the patriarchal society in the Dominican Republic. According to Yunior's hyperbolic description, the focus is always on Lola's butt and legs, perhaps, Lola can stop traffic when she wears her shorts (p.68). Yunior is also lucky with women and uses his charming skills into luring women to fall in love with him. Moreover, sex has been used in the novel to connote power in women. It is a tool that is used by women to lift themselves out of repression that is imposed by the patriarchal society as well as the self. Diaz portrays sex as a hyperbolic symptom that is deeply rooted in the cultural ills. Nevertheless, sex in the novel has been used to perpetuate stereotypes in society.
Rafael Trujillo oppresses the citizens of the Dominican Republic; perhaps, he represents the bad governance in contemporary living. For instance, Belician and her son Oscar de Leon; who is the protagonist are tortured in the cane field, but the author develops a character Mongoose who acts as a savior to both Belicia and her son. Besides, the cane field gives the audience a glimpse of Dominican Republic layout and the kind of authority some people in that society possess. Since cane fields are packed tight with sugar cane and are wide fields, it becomes an ideal setting to kill someone and get away with it without difficulty without anyone suspecting the act.
First, Beli is taken there after the affair she had with a gangster is discovered and cannot stop the relationship even after receiving warnings from the Gangster's wife who is a powerful woman related to Trujillo. The wife uses her power to have Beli beaten brutally in the field, and left there but the golden mongoose comes to her rescue and that is how she escaped death in the pitches. Secondly, Oscar is taken to the arenas to be beaten and left for dead because he cannot navigate his way out, but mongoose comes for his rescue. However, he later comes to the field again to get Ybon to love him but instead; he is killed by her boyfriend. His decisions and weakness of omen lead him to his downfall as a hero. Consequently, due to Rafael Trujillo's dictatorship, the Dominican Republic was portrayed as a hostile place as well as a poor region.
The author has foregrounded superstition in the novel by focusing on fuku; a curse that is mostly affecting de Leon's family and the Dominican society at large. The common supernatural element infused in this novel is fuku, which provides the reason for the turning up of events in the entire narrative thus making the audience wonder if all the events happening in the novel is as a result of the fuku. Diaz depicts that de Leon's family predicament is as a result of the fuku curse. For instance, Oscar, the protagonist, is described as an overweight nerd and is not lucky with girls despite his eagerness to love and be loved back.
Furthermore, another supernatural element that the author describes in his novel is mongoose that keeps appearing to both Belicia and Oscar in the sugar cane field. He uses mongoose to symbolize a savior; the first mongoose saved Belicia and Oscar from death when they were left in the pitches to die after receiving a brutal beating. Mongoose is used to represent a supernatural power that it intends to save the Dominican society from the fuku curse. Also, the power of La Inca's prayer, which is to purposely aid in saving her daughter has been portrayed as a force that is beyond nature. On the other hand, Trujillo's power and control over the Dominican Republic have been likened to supernatural powers, and, the author challenges the audience to believe that Trujillo's power truly has a supernatural origin.
Additionally, many of the Dominican families claim to be victims of fuku, "victim[s] of a high-level fuku" (p. 154). They are often plagued by bad luck; the frequencies of bad luck in their lives are subjecting the people in the society helpless to the circumstances they are facing. Besides, the only explanation they can understand is the effect of fuku in their lives. The society can salvage the curse situation by blaming bad lucks and misfortunes on supernatural energy as well as magical realism. However, in the novel, Diaz has used Galactus and Mongoose about Fuku and Zafa; perhaps, this explains the power and powerlessness in the family line of Cabral.
The author portrays the Dominican society as a patriarchal society where women are seen as sex objects. Hence, Oscar can fall in love with many girls. The women in Dominican represented by Belicia and Lola demonstrate that they can use their sexuality to gain respect and power. Nevertheless, the male in society is described as charming, physically attractive, authoritative, and violent. Oscar lacks "G" as well as the ability to commit any, violence, thus, he can't achieve his objective of having a woman return his affection. Contrarily, Yunior represents Dominican men with power and can commit violence.
In conclusion, the author has used various techniques to convey his themes. The diction he chooses as well as symbolism and imagery contributes to the development of the above themes. The author believes that Fuku is the cause of all the bad luck in Dominican society, but he is trying to bring up a solution to the problem, thus uses Mongoose as a savior.
Daz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Penguin, 2008.
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