The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao Questions and Answers
by Junot Díaz

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In The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao, how does the Trujillato continue to effect the characters in diaspora?

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Much of the action of the novel takes place in the industrial landscape of northern New Jersey. However, the themes of the novel are very much driven by the twentieth century upheaval in the Dominican Republic under the rule of Trujillo and the following unrest that drove immigration to the United States. Although set in New Jersey, there are no notable white characters in the novel. The characters live in an insular immigrant environment and their hearts, souls, and identity are forever linked to the DR, which they visit every summer. Although Trujillo is not technically a character in the novel, he hangs heavily as a presence over all of the characters lives. Diaz represents the DR as a beautiful but cursed island, and in parallel fashion, the narrator tells about the powerful "fuku" or curse that hangs over Oscar's family even in diaspora.

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