Diaz novel, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao starts with the narrators portrayal of a curse which is referred to as – a curse of doom (fuku americanus) distinctively that of a New World. In keeping with Diaz in the novel, the curse was taken to the island of Antilles at time when the Europeans arrived at has remained there ever after. In the novel, the narrator claims that dictator Rafael has a close relation with fuku. At the beginning, the novel details Oscar childhood, teenage and traumatic college years. He further informs the reader that he will be informing the reader about the story of Oscar de Leon a victim of his own family's fuku. In keeping with the Diaz the only way to counter the curse was through Zafa which could ward off the curse. Generally, this novel by Diaz teaches us that no matter how bad life can turn to be, one should never give up on what they desire most because it is the way of finding ones identity and triumph over being marginalized.
The novel is filled with a wild, capacious spirit that makes it larger than it really is. It contains unruly multitude of genres and style. And the narration about Oscar's coming of age has been established as the book's thinnest layer. It involves on a young adult's melodrama embellished over a multigenerational expatriate family chronicle that experiments in tropical magic realism, post-postmodern pyrotechnics, hip-hop machismo, punk rock feminism and polymorphous multiculturalism. To begin with, the first chapter of the novel takes place in Paterson New Jersey between 1974 and 1987 and covers Oscar's childhood and adolescence. Diaz indicates that from an early age Oscar was incapable of seeing beyond being marginalized and used to hide from truth of being overweight, a hard-core science fiction and fantasy man who fears he will remain a virgin for the rest of his life (Diaz 23). When he was seven, Oscar dated two girls, Olga and Maritza at one fell swoop; but, the three fell apart and Oscar's life exacerbated after the break up. In his teen years, Oscar was obese, unattractive and dorky. His interest in genre made him even more undesirable and remained with only two friends- Miggs and Al. Lola, Oscar's sister and Rodolfo, kept on encouraging him to shed some weight and be more masculine for him to get at least a lay or another girl friend. However, Oscar did not heed to any of the advices. The moment Miggs and Al found their girl friends and intentionally left him out the intimates that they think of him as a loser. He visits Nena Inca and turns to science fiction writings as an outlet.
Eventually, Oscar falls in love with a girl by the name Ana Obregon. He had met her while he was on a prep class. He and Ana developed a close friendship though they were never intimate. The return of Ana's boyfriend from the army meant that Oscar and Ana would not meet again. Later, Oscar joined a college at Rutgers, his life changes but he realizes he continued to be a loser. Oscar's predicament is an indication of protagonist approach in the novel. Behind his descriptions is the choreographer of Oscar's complicated world, the novel depicts him as a man who admits to his predicaments (Patterson & Diaz 167).
The novel is relentlessly optimistic; it illustrates how Oscar falls in love with tons of girls. But his general nerdiness prevents him from getting any action. When he joins Rutgers University he finds Yunior. The two are improbable friends but they get along very properly. Yunior's girlfriend dumps him because of infidelity and he decides to spend his extra time and energy with Oscar. As illustrated by Diaz, Oscar keeps losing weight and becomes well groomed after a redemption program by Yunior. He had lost even more weight and was trying his best to keep his hair trim and face shaved. He looked, if you can believe it, good.”(Diaz 195). He wanted to shape Oscar up so that he could get better chances to getting a girl; however, Oscar loses interest along the way and this make Yunior to be angry with him. The novel depicts torture for the poor guy. Later on, Oscar f alls in love with Jenni Murioz a Puerto Rican Girl and they both spend much time together though they are never intimate. Jenni stops hanging out with Oscar she finds another girlfriend. This frustrates Oscar who eventually tries to commit suicide by jumping off the train bridge. Before he jumps he sees the golden mongoose and escapes death since he falls on a median. He lives by himself in the fall semester later on Lola and Yunior falls in love. The encounter with the golden mongoose brings a supernatural and magical element into the story. Even Lola, Oscar's sister tries to advice hi to lose glasses, do more exercise and through out his porn for him to win a girl. Oscar tries all this but ends up going back to the old patterns of life (Diaz 21). Lola is worried about Oscar since he had tried to commit suicide and agrees to stay with her brother in the arty dorm Demarest. The symbolic relationship in the novel is highlighted by ephemeral nature of the mongoose which disappears as fast as it appears. The animal appears on a time dire need, the narrator in the novel includes a provision on the precision in the visions of the creature.
In the novel, Oscar's love has a direct connection to violence. This is a theme that ranges from domestic violence to extreme violence that comes up from loving too much or falling in love with the wrong person. Love is a very strong emotion as depicted in the novel especially with the fact that Oscar tries to commit suicide because of it. Love and anger are themes that results to rush decisions made by all characters. The novel further introduces the aspect of witch – Bruja, this is where Lola finds out their mother is suffering with breast cancer and seeks the help of a witch hoping the life will change. Lola cuts off her hair an act of defiance against Belicia. This marks a turning point in their relationship especially where Lola slaps away her mothers hand when she was about to hit her. She runs away to live with Aldo in Wildwood, New Jersey. She looses her virginity to him. She later finds out the Aldo's father is as complicated to live with as her own mother Belicia. She gets lonely and calls Oscar and they meet at a coffee shop on the boardwalk, accompanies by their mother, uncle and aunt. Lola lives for Santo Domingo with Nena Inca; she attends high school and gets another boyfriend Max Sanchez. Her feeling about Bruja comes up and she realizes these feeling surfaces from the stories narrated to her by La Inca about her families past.
In keeping with the narration, Oscar never runs away, however he always held into illusions inside his head and believed he might one day be free of this life. The novel shows that Oscar was aware that there was no way out (Diaz 209). He understood that the girl who nearly got him slay is the love of his life and even though she had a girlfriend and they lived in Santo Domingo he had to return for her anyway. Oscar truly loved Y'bon and had built her into his life. Y'bon was not a mere distraction from the real world. When he went to Santo Domingo for her he way ready to sacrifice himself for her love rather than trying to escape the misery that fogged his life – he was fixing his life.
Oscar's death, disparagement of Lola, and the beating the three underwent allude is an illustration that it is impossible to escape what is coming. Diaz has made it open for the audience to predict what will unfold on Oscar's final voyage though for him he was just trying to fix the broken life he, himself had created. Arguably, it may or may not have been the fuku but it is certain that neither Oscar, nor, Lola, nor Beli had the aptitude to run out of the life they lived. Notably, Oscar seem to be blaming fuku for everything that happened until when Yunior implied that "the product of the same condemned, tyrannical history that landed Columbus' ships in America five hundred years ago." Arguably, the story must be rewritten if there stand a chance to lift the curse. (Patterson).
Oscar graduates from college around 1992-95. He returns to Paterson, New Jersey where he lives with his mother. He is employed as at teacher at Don Bosco Tech - his old high school where he taught English and history (Diaz 139). At Don Bosco, he meets Nataly a fellow teacher. They become friend and are if illustrated to be fantasizing with her but unfortunately she moves away. Oscar becomes very dejected and depressed. After threes years of depression he decide to go to Santo Domingo with his family. The novels also illustrates that de Leons left to stay with La Inca. Oscar had not been there for years and it had already forgotten how intense he loved the place especially how beautiful women there were. So he decided to live there for an extra month and fell in love with a semi-retired prostitute Ybon (Diaz 274).
Oscar and Ybon became close but like all other relationships they were never intimate. Ybon had a boyfriend who served in the national police force. As Oscar was driving them from the bar one night, Ybon's boyfriend pulled them over and as soon as they were pulled over she jumped on Oscar and kissed him. This was his first kiss and it was witnessed by her boyfriend. Oscar was pulled to a cane field and thoroughly beaten and he luckily survived. Ybon received a beating as well. She later visits Oscar to inform him that she would get married to his boy friend. Beli books a flight for Oscar to go away from Santo Domingo.
After arriving New Jersey, Oscar goes to visit Yunior who lived in Washington Heights. Oscar borrows money from Yunior and uses the money to pursue Ybon and fly's back to Dominican Republic. He spends twenty seven days in pursuit for his love and when he is there he writes manuscripts and does researches. By the twenty seventh day, Oscar is taken back to the cane field and he is shot dead by two men who were close friend with the captain. After the death of Oscar, Lola and Yunior broke up. One year after the death of Oscar his mother also died of breast cancer.
In the novel Yunior describes his life in Perth Amboy where he taught creative writing and got married. He states that he intermittently meets Lola. Lola is also married with a daughter Isis. Yunior looks forward to narrating to Isis about her family and to show her Oscars manuscripts and books. The scenario of Yunior meeting Isis is only his desire and does not happen in real life. Diaz in the book, The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao ends with Yuniors narrative which does not provide with definite answers. The Question on whether fuku (curse of doom) has been contained still remains. Yunior and Lola's relationship remain to puzzle. In a repeated dream, Yuniors wakes up and reveals words that would have saved them. Diaz does not list the words out; however, he leaves three blank spaces and leaves the reader with questions about what could have happened. There are also questions about fuku that remain unattended.
Eight months after Oscar had died; Lola received a package of two manuscripts. One manuscript had few chapters from a space opera that Oscar used to write. The second manuscript was a letter to Lola in which Oscar had written that there would be another manuscript that would be mailed and would contain some kind of cure to fuku- curse of doom. However this manuscript did not arrive. Oscar also revealed that after his lone trip to visit Ybon – they had sex; he had eventually enjoyed the intimacies of a romantic relationship.
In keeping with Diaz, Oscar's speech while in the cane fields before his death illustrates Oscar's belief that he belongs on another side. At the moment he has realized there is no place for him in the world. From this point of view, Oscar can be assumed to belong to the outside. Conversely he can be the Dominican male he always wished to be. Oscar's death commemorates him and makes him a hero. Even though his speech is an attempt to save him, he is also aware that he dies a cause he fully believes in - love. In Yunior's account on the last epistle, his tone conveys relief that Oscar at last has sex with Ybon and thus achieved the goal he always strived for and especially getting intimate something that was better than he even imagined.
Diaz, Junot. The brief wondrous life of Oscar Wao. New York: Riverhead Books, 2007. Print.
Hurwitt, Robert. Theater review: 'Fukú Americanus. Review (SFGate). Retrieved 11-02-2013.
Pulitzer Prize-Winner Junot Diaz Writes the Book on Heartbreak. Wall Street Journal.
Stetler P. Pulitzer winner stays true to Jersey roots. The Star Ledger. Retrieved 11-02-2013.