The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao: Analysis Essay
Analysis The characters in the novel can be identified with each of the three categories i.e. immigrant, outsider, and hero in some way. While Yunior and Belicia are the immigrants from Dominican Republic in New Jersey, Belicia and Oscar are identified as the outsiders in their school. Lola consistently maintains an urge to be disconnected from her activities and her surroundings. The relation between the roles of immigrant, outsider, and hero is derived from the fact that each of these roles gives a unique definition to each character and makes him/her stand out from amongst the rest. Not only is the immigrant physically and literally away from their indigenous region, but they also are different from the people in the host country. Escape is symbolized in the novel as the immigrant. Broadly speaking, an outsider is a person who cannot relate to, identify with, or fit in the context or setting where they are wishfully present or to which they have a desire to belong. The hero is different from the other characters because they possess the skills, abilities, strength or power to do something that is beyond the capacity of others. The hero particularly differs from the statuses of the immigrant and the outsider because the former has positive connotations while the latter two often have negative connotations. Combination of the three characters or statuses lends a character a multifaceted view.
Lola and Yunior both struggle with their immigrant origin. Having been brought up in a way that is in conflict with their original culture and with difficult histories of family, the two hardly find any time to be community activists or superheroes. Even though Lola is closer to becoming a community activist or a superhero, she does not actually qualify to be called one. Belicia and Lola both have an inextinguishable desire of escape. This feeling has a correlation with the status of being an outsider or an immigrant because the outsiders and the immigrants feel belongingness neither to their indigenous culture nor to the host culture.
Oscar fits the definition of every stereotype about the geek genre. He rarely spends a day without being abused verbally or physically. As Oscar says, “… they would sense him waiting for them on the other side and over there he wouldn’t be no fatboy or dork or kid no girl had ever loved; over there he’d be a hero, an avenger. Because anything you can dream (he put his hands up) you can be” (Diaz 321-322). This statement of Oscar indicates that he has the status of a hero as well as of a martyr in many ways. The three statuses blend well into the personality of Oscar. His love for the Twilight Zone Episode implies his immigrant nature. At the school, he is an outsider as he does not want to participate in the outdoor activities. In the quote above, Oscar raises his hands to symbolize his surrender to death which is how he establishes his power as a hero.
Diaz, Junot. The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. Faber & Faber, 2008. Print.