What makes this book distinctly American Literature?
Several types of literatures exist in the contemporary world. This includes the different genres. However, most of the literature are classified or grouped together according to their origins and time. In this paper, we will analyze the novel The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao in a bid to categorize it as a distinctly American literature.
Before we get to analyze the book, it is paramount we understand the characteristics of American literature. Many writers added in to American literature between 1865 and 1914. Even though these writers came from various parts of the country and had dissimilar life styles, they still managed to include interrelated themes in their works. A theme is thought to be the key design of any work, or a denotation behind a tale. Inside this phase of American literature, three themes persisted (Reynolds 88). They include the idea of true beauty, fortification of nature, and insight versus realism. Apart from themes, there are elements that are distinctively included in American literature and not in other literatures. The first one is that American literature reproduces beliefs and traditions that originate from the country’s frontier dates. The original principles of independence and sovereignty emerge repeatedly in American writings. American writers have enormous admiration for the significance and value of the human beings. They are inclined to rebuff authority and to highlight democracy and the parity of inhabitants. They frequently commemorate nature and logic of unlimited space.
Secondly, American authors have forever had a strong propensity to escape literary convention and to cross out their own trends. Authors of other regions appear to understand their national literary conventions. Conversely, numerous American writers have discarded the old so as to create something fresh.
Third, a vigorous smudge of comedy impales American literature from original times to the present. In several cases, a scurry of salty humor accumulates a grave theme from being extremely sentimental. American comedies are inclined to be overstated rather than restrained. It imitates the group’s aptitude to express amusement at themselves even throughout the extremely complex times.
Having this in mind, we can compare the book with others that symbolize American literature. Looking at the book, the subject of the Individual and the Nation tends to appear almost all over the book. The novel rests on the perspective of Dominican Republic Diasporas. Yunior, the speaker, offers the eyes wherein the readers perceive. His recounting is a combination of Dominican history and United States trendy civilization. As regarding Yunior, both are entangled. Even though the personalities existing in the US are actually alienated from their origin nation, they still experience a strong relation to it. A country is occasionally characterized in the individual. It is stressed in the epigraph using Derrick Walcott’s utterances
“Either I’m nobody, or I’m a nation.” (Diaz 1)
The significance of individual is stressed out too. Some personalities’ lives, that are of La Inca , Belicia, and Abelard, work within Trujillo’s administration, analogous with it and frequently caught up in it, romantically, politically, or sexually. Oscar also turns out to be caught up in the Policía Nacional member’s personal life and is therefore characteristically caught up with the nation, much the identical manner that his grandfather and mother were engrossed. The theme of the nation and individual can also be regarded as the official versus the quotidian.
Therefore, like most American literature, the novel shares the notion of insight vs. realism, the issue of independence and sovereignty. These are all parts of the cultural ideals and believes shared by most Americans. It is one feature that attributes to the so-called American culture.
Additionally, looking at the theme of love and violence, it is so American. In the novel love repeatedly has an express link to violence. In the novel, the theme varies from household violence to tremendous gut twisting aggression that takes place as reprisal for loving in excess or loving the incorrect individual. Beli goes through violence when she adores the criminal (Diaz 141); Oscar goes through it when he feels affection for Ybón, and Abelard, when he defends his daughter out of love. Lola undergoes s a different situation of love and violence in that she cannot detach her mother’s love from her aggressive behavior. Love is a big emotion in this novel, and it is contradicted by resentment and vengeance that stimulate violence.
Another issue than can be related to other American literatures is the theme of the Outsider. Oscar is the stranger mainly owing to the nerdiness status, his cleverness, and his ugly physical look. Oscar as a stranger matches the émigré like the stranger. Immigrants are a strangers of their own nation in addition to in their new nation. This theme depicts a culture that is well entrenched in the American cultural ideals and beliefs. Most Americans believe in perfection. Even in the high school situation, kids tend to group each other according to popularity, beauty, and nerdiness. With the popular kids, the beautiful kids being elevated in the society and the ugly and nerds treated as outsiders. Using this argument one can tell that the novel is part of American literature.
Another aspect is the aspect of gender and sex. Diaz highlights sex to be major constituent to be a Dominican man. The male is illustrated as having authority and attraction, and is bodily good-looking, sexually dynamic, and aggressive. Oscar’s lack is fundamental in this novel; with his objective all through the novel is having a lady reciprocate his love. He as well lacks the aptitude and the wish to struggle or be aggressive. Devoid of the essential maleness, he falls short of attaining his objective. On the other hand, Yunior is the essence of Dominican maleness; he is brawny and sexual. Both Lola and Belicia are depicted as sexually attractive in; their sexuality being a structure of authority for them. In favor of Belicia, the authority is highlighted by her bosoms, supposedly 35DDDs and portrayed in hyperbolic expressions. Regarding Beli, the commencement of puberty then womanhood blotted the establishment of her authority; she understood she could be in charge of males via her sexuality. For Lola, her hips and legs are the power source. She can allegedly discontinue traffic when in her shorts; once Yunior portrays Lola he habitually centers on the quantity of leg, she shows, or he would center on her behind, frequently by means of hyperbolic accounts. Most American literatures employ the themes of sex, beauty, perfection to pass on messages or to sell the books. It is also of the American culture that sex sells. Following this argument, one can truly equate to book to be distinctively American literature.
In addition, genre performs an associated task in the narrative, as the writer employs appearances of such genres all through the novel; highlighting the fantasy and science fiction type of Dominican Republic life by contrasting Trujillo to Lord of the Rings’ Sauron. The storyteller refers frequently to Oscar’s adoration of Genre. These genres in signal are comic books, desire, and science fiction. Genre is connected with Oscar’s stranger position as a bookworm. The novel’s characters insecurely corresponding to the Fantastic 4 characters and therefore compares the stranger to a hero (Diaz 269-270). All this are among the popular American culture
Finally, the novel is also introduced with a diversity of supernatural constituents. The most apparent is the notion of fukú (Diaz 1) that offers the connotation for the whole tale, directing an individual to speculate if the episodes are because of fukú. An additional paranormal constituent is of a mongoose, which emerges to Oscar and Belicia mutually in their moment of need (Diaz 151). The La Inca’s authority of prayer to rescue her daughter is depicted as a supernatural power. Trujillo’s authority is as well associated to the paranormal, and the storyteller together with other characters frequently challenge the person who reads to think that maybe Trujillo could of paranormal origin. Many American authors have forever had a strong propensity to escape literary convention and to cross out their own trends. By using this bit, Diaz follows trend thus creating no doubt that the novel is American.
Going per the arguments above, there is no doubt that this novel is distinctively American literature. The dealings of dissimilar populace in the U S are significant to American literary convention since the condition remains current. The novel themes are mainly focused on this aspect. It talks of populations who immigrate into the US and struggle with incorporating into the popular culture, however habitually value what America has to tender concerning value of life. The novel thus relates to a culture that many immigrants in the US actually go through, therefore, categorizing the novel American literature professing the cultural and ideal beliefs of the American people. While notions of spirituality and patrimonial activities are recent, warts and all the draw between the city and country regions of America, the varied nature of residents is best reproduced in the novel with the complete fundamental nature of our nation. In short, Writings that center on the dealings of different peoples in the U S stress a theme explicitly impractical to disregard within American literary convention, owing to its implication in each American’s life, whether past and present. Therefore the novel is distinctively an American literature
Baym, Nina. The Norton Anthology of American Literature. New York: W.W. Norton & Company, 2007.
Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. New York, NY: Riverhead Book, 2007
Reynolds, Guy. “The Winning of the West: Washington Irving’s ‘A Tour on the Prairies’.” The Yearbook of English Studies. 34: 2004.